According to an audit issued by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, female FBI agents on June 26, ATF agents, DEA agents, and deputy marshals are underrepresented in the ranks of law enforcement. In addition, female investigators are rarely promoted to key jobs at our country’s top law enforcement agencies.
In the report, women comprised only 16 percent of the criminal investigators in the fiscal year 2016. Many of them were aware of the glass ceiling for their promotional opportunities. Furthermore, women were even less represented in field leadership positions, which was between 6.3 and 11 percent of such roles at the DOJ’s four major law enforcement agencies.
“During the 6-year scope of our review, there were few women leading field offices, field divisions, or districts and even fewer women in headquarters executive positions leading operational units,” the report stated. “Further, we found that the components have taken limited actions to increase the number of women at all levels of the organizations.”
Human resources employees were the most represented (84 percent) out of the 57 percent of women holding professional staff positions. Meanwhile, the majority of men who surveyed for the report claimed that both genders had access to equal opportunities.
Auditors were troubled that both men and women working in law enforcement components reported a general belief that it’s “who you know” that matters rather than merit when it comes to personnel decisions.
The inspector general made several recommendations to thwart gender inequality at the DOJ. Each of the four law enforcement agencies agreed with all of them.
The following are the recommendations made by the OIG report:
- Identify barriers against gender equality in recruitment, hiring, and retention
- Develop and implement strategies and goals which address the identified barriers against women in the workforce.
- Develop and implement a plant to track and assess demographic information in order to evaluate recruitment strategies.
- Identify barriers to women’s advancement and address those barriers throughout all law enforcement agencies.
- Develop and implement methods of the merit promotion process by improving objectivity and transparency.
- Develop and implement methods to address perceptions of skepticism and retaliation regarding the Equal Employment Opportunity complaint process.
If you work at the DOJ or hold a position for the federal government, you may have experienced gender inequality. If you wish to file a complaint, you must hire an experienced federal employment lawyer to help you build an effective case and protect your rights.