M.E. Pennington served as the FDA's first female laboratory chief after receiving the top score on the Civil Service exam. Frances Kelsey, hired as a medical officer in 1960, was instrumental in preventing the approval of thalidomide, and Imogene Gollinger was hired as the agency's first female field officer after the Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964. "Today, women make up approximately 59% of FDA's work force, all of whom are involved in protecting and promoting public health," FDA historian Suzanne Junod writes.

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