Articles by Lois W. Roth

Lois Roth published two articles during her lifetime, upon one of which her husband, Dick Arndt, collaborated. We are pleased to make them available for interested readers.


Nice Girl or Pushy Bitch: Two Roads to Non-Promotion

In February 1980, Lois  wrote an occasional paper for the newsletter of the Women’s Action Organization of USIA (US Information Agency—the overseas press and culture agency that was merged with the State Department in 1999). The article, entitled “Nice Girl or Pushy Bitch: Two Roads to Non-Promotion,” was a groundbreaking early analysis of the difficulties women faced in the performance review process. Although often recalled and referred to by subsequent authors, until recently the text itself had gone missing. Requests for the article and help in the search came from employees overseas and in Washington and culminated in the State Department’s Ralph Bunche Library tracking the article down through the Whirled View blog. Our thanks go to Roger Garren and Hugh Howard of the Bunche Library for finally bringing the full text to light!  —Anne Barbaro, Roth Endowment Board Secretary, April 2014

The two original requestors sent the following comments:
—Nancy VanHorn, of Embassy Yerevan, wrote: “It’s compelling reading, even all these years after it was first published.  I’m going to share it both with our Federal Women’s Program group at post and with other women officers with whom it will resonate.  I also just want to note how much I appreciate the efforts of women officers like Ms. Roth to identify these issues and push them into the open.  Her work helped change the environment for my generation of FSOs, although too many of the points she raised in her article are still relevant today.”
—Another Foreign Service Officer, who contacted the Foundation after seeing the article referenced online, adds “Lois Roth’s article should be required reading for everyone approaching the evaluation and promotion process at State.  Some things she recommended in the article (like providing more clarity on what comments are “inadmissible” in an Employee Evaluation Report) have already happened, but other points still resonate today.  Ms. Roth was clearly ahead of her time in recognizing the factors that could limit women’s career progression.”