The recent controversy surrounding the Secret Service is calling attention to the agency's existing gender gap, leaving some to wonder whether the presence of more women field agents could have prevented the scandal.
The likelihood of a scandal of this magnitude "would have been reduced significantly" if there were more women agents that night in Colombia, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., told The Washington Post.
While women make up about a quarter of the agency's total workforce, only about a tenth of them are field agents or uniformed officers. As a result, the male-dominated agency looks like "a good ol' boys club," according to Joe Davidson of The Post.
The Secret Service is looking to recruit more women into its workforce, spokesman Ed Donovan told the Associated Press. But the active lifestyle of a field agent -- requiring extended travel and being on call around the clock -- often deters women with families from wanting to be in uniform.
"You do miss birthdays, you do miss Christmas, and you miss piano recitals, and maybe women are just more sensitive to that than men can be," Paige Pinson, who spent 15 years with the agency, told the AP.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
This story is part of our Next America: Workforce project, which is supported by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.