One hundred years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, women in the United States continue to face societal and institutionalized biases that can undermine the success of women everywhere. This is especially true when it comes to leadership in the U.S. government. And while the number of women serving in state and federal legislatures has increased, the number of women leaders in the foreign policy and national security establishment continues to be lacking. As I progressed in my International Relations degree, it became apparent that I was most frequently learning about men, from men, and then I asked: where are the women in U.S. foreign policy and national security (FP/NS)? Over the last three months, I have interviewed fifteen women from various FP/NS backgrounds and degrees of experience to understand their time in the field and how their identities as women impacted their work. The decades-old networks of aging, white men who have held, and continue to hold, the majority of positions across the foreign policy establishment and have created a culture where women must work harder than the men around them in order to advance. In addition, almost all reported casual sexism and discrimination in the workplace. But, small steps have brought greater numbers of women into the field. While support from career service members and both male and female mentors have helped increase the numbers of women in FP/NS, the fraternal cultures of the institutions women serve has prevented the diversity the establishment needs so the decision-makers are more informed and better represent the country they serve.



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