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 Portfolio for Women 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 a 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 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 all 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 change management, with a focus squarely centered around diversity and inclusion matters.

In her most recent role, Joy served as a Management Analyst/Accessibility Consultant in the Office of the Director, Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion where she led the business process and engineering of the NIH Language Access Program. Joy served as Chair of the NIH Language Access Steering Committee, and the NIH LAP Liaisons Committee. She was a member of the HHS LAP Steering Committee and Chair of an HHS LAP Outreach subcommittee.

Joy was responsible for the development and administration of surveys and assessments; compiling and analyzing data and trends for the Language Access Program, the Sign Language Interpreting Services Program and the NIH Travel Services Program. She is a certified COR, responsible for contractual development and administration of multi-million dollar contracts used NIH wide.

She served as the Quality Assurance Specialist for NIH Child Care Services where she assisted in the management of the NIH Childcare Board, NIH Child Care Centers, the NIH Resources and Referral Services contract and the NIH Child Care subsidy. In addition, Joy developed and executed a wellness seminar series focusing on the health and well- being of NIH employees and their families.

Prior to that Joy was an Immigration Specialist at the NIH responsible for but not limited to administering the J-1 visa program for Visiting Fellows.

Joy earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland University College, and is completing her Master’s degree in Public Administration. She is also a certified EEO Counselor.

> Contact Joy


The Committee promotes the Women’s 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 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.