America’s Evolution of Women and Their Roles in the Intelligence Community

  • Citation: Martin, Amy J. “America’s Evolution of Women and Their Roles in the Intelligence Community.” Journal of Strategic Security 8, no. 3 (2015): 99–109.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Keywords:
    • women
    • Intelligence Community (IC)
    • leadership positions
    • female operations officers

The role of women in the Intelligence Community has evolved over time and captures the use of their skills to further assist, perpetuate, and lead intelligence operations globally. This paper serves as a historical overview of some of the techniques of the early female spies and highlights the successes of the modern woman’s contributions to the intelligence mission. Emerging female operations officers often face obstacles: dealing with bias within the bureaucracy, issues of female equality within certain cultures, and experiencing slower rates of promotion. This has meant a lack of females in competitive leadership positions. Female mentors and former intelligence members explore avenues for surviving and thriving within the CIA. Women must have high standards of performance and professionalism and grasp the politics of advancement in a male-dominated hierarchical agency. Communication in leadership training and awareness is key, as seen in the CIA’s 1991 “glass ceiling” study and 2013 Director’s Advisory Group on Women in Leadership (DAG) report on the statistics of the lack of women in senior management. The current trend of women serving in top positions in intelligence organizations should offer encouragement and promote further changes within the American culture.

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