Women - About

EDI strives to advance diversity and inclusion at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and ensure that the civil rights of all employees are protected. The Women’s Employment Portfolio at NIH is directed at ensuring that this constituency remains a successful part of a broader diversity and inclusion strategy for the NIH. This Portfolio is federally mandated, having its authority grounded in Presidential Executive Orders.


Our work aims to identify barriers to equal opportunity for women, and to create strategies to remove those barriers. Our portfolio is an important part of the Agency-wide effort to provide equal employment opportunities to every NIH employee. Our team of strategists is responsible for the implementation of the program, and the Women’s Employee Committee is dedicated to providing strategic support and guidance. We count on the commitment and support of leaders and management officials from all NIH Institutes and Centers.

EDI works in partnership with the Office of Human Resources (OHR), the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) and NIH leadership to support the Women’s Employment Portfolio. Together, we develop collaborations to advance the representation of our women in all occupations of the NIH workforce and support this constituency in achieving their fullest potential.

At NIH we understand that our responsibility to diverse groups extends well beyond federal mandates. We define diversity broadly to include elements of our human identities and encompass every aspect of difference. Within EDI, we are interested in leveraging the ideas of each NIH employee to fuel innovation and drive health discovery. The women's constituency is a critical piece of our overall diversity strategy.


Joy Postell

Joy Postell

Joy Postell is a long-time NIH employee with multifaceted experience in leading, developing, and coordinating agile management, focused squarely on diversity and inclusion matters, and employee services.

Her career at the NIH started as an Immigration Specialist in the Fogarty International Center in service of foreign scientists and visitors coming to the NIH to conduct collaborative research in the NIH laboratories. She then moved to the Office of Research Services, Employee Services as a Quality Assurance Specialist for Child Care, Food and Employee Health, and Well-being. Joy served as the certified COR for the Sign Language Interpreting Services Program and Program Manager for the NIH Travel Services Program, responsible for contractual development and management of multi-million dollar contracts used NIH-wide.

Moving to the Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion in 2015, Joy served as a Management Analyst/Accessibility Consultant. She led the NIH Language Access Program's business process and engineering across the NIH through the development and administration of surveys and assessment tools, compiling and analyzing data trends for the Language Access Program.

Selected to be the Women's Portfolio Strategist in the EDI Division of Diversity and Inclusion in 2016, Joy works to identify barriers to equal employment opportunity for all women at the NIH and create strategies to remove those barriers. She is a staunch believer that building relationships and engagement with employees is essential to building positive work experiences.

Joy earned her Bachelor's degree in the Humanities from the University of Maryland University College and a certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. She is also a certified EEO Counselor and has completed several Women in Leadership training programs.

> Contact Joy


The Committee promotes the Women’s Employment Portfolio and addresses issues concerning employees by:

  • Identifying and discussing mission areas, and diversity and civil rights issues.
  • Educating and training through observances, forums.
  • Assisting with recruitment, retention, and succession planning.
  • Coordinating and facilitating with the Women's Employment Portfolio Strategist on program activities.
  • Reviewing and implementing action plans established pursuant to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Management Directive (MD) 715 for adequacy and assess progress toward achieving affirmative employment goals, including reviewing statistical data on workforce composition.



  • In 1961, President Kennedy established the Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, to look into problems women encountered in employment in the Federal Government.
  • In 1963, based on recommendations of the Commission, the Federal Women's Program (FWP) was established as a vehicle to provide opportunities for the recruitment, selection, training, and advancement of women in the Federal Government.
  • In October 1967, Executive Order 11375 added sex to other prohibited forms of discrimination such as race, color, religion, and national origin in the Federal Government.
  • In August 1969, Executive Order 11478 integrated the FWP into the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program and placed the FWP under the direction of EEO for each agency. OPM regulations implementing Public Law 92-261 require that federal agencies designate a FWP Manager to advise the Director of EEO on matters affecting the employment and advancement of women. This law also requires that federal agencies allocate sufficient resources for their Federal Women's Programs. 
  • In March 1972, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to apply equal employment opportunity protection to the Federal Government. The designation of a Federal Women's Program Manager was codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 1614.102) as appropriate for carrying out equal employment opportunity functions in all organizational units of an agency, and at all agency installations.