A woman atop the CIA was once unthinkable. But female spies have always been remarkable.Breaking News
tags: CIA, Trump, Gina Haspel
President Trump made history Tuesday when he nominated Gina Haspel to become the first female director of the CIA. If she replaces Mike Pompeo, who would succeed Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, her confirmation would mark a massive milestone for the spy agency, which has long been dominated by men.
Since the CIA was formally established in September 1947, not one of its directors has been a woman. When it was founded after World War II, a group of women — many of them former operatives from the CIA’s precursor, the Office of Strategic Services — began working for Langley. Some, including legendary World War II spy Virginia Hall, were highly accomplished and brave operatives, but did not earn the same salaries or promotions as their male counterparts. A far larger number of the agency’s women worked as secretaries or clerks.
To its credit, the CIA from its earliest days has acknowledged the gender inequities and has attempted to remedy them. In the early 1950s, then-director Allen Dulles ordered up an internal review — led by a group of CIA women famously called “The Petticoat Panel” — to examine the pay and rank disparities between male and female employees. According to the CIA’s web site, the report found that the median grade for women was GS-5 and, for men, GS-9. Not a single woman worked in the senior executive service.
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