The names Virginia Hall, Jennifer Matthews, and Gina Bennett all have one thing in common: these women have all played a significant role in the operations of various intelligence agencies in the United States. Although they were key players in the safety of the nation most female spies are not common knowledge. Most people are familiar with Harriet Tubman and her heroic deeds,but what about the other women that have largely impacted the society through their roles as spies.Historically women have been seen as the weaker or inferior sex when compared to their male counterparts. Females, although they make up over half of the world population, are considered a minority. They have fought for many vital rights such as the ability to vote. Many laws and legal cases have been initiated in an attempt to bring equality. One of the most recent and timely issues facing the female minority is the right to abortion.
Many factors contribute to this observation. Historically the roles females play in various intelligence agencies have been downplayed due to the historical view of women as inferior, the different standards society holds for men and women, and the role women do play is in intelligence agencies not general knowledge.
The Washington Post report ‘CIA Women Still Hit Glass Ceiling’ and a speech giving by a former House of Representative member entitled ‘Who Will Fight For The Worth Of Women's Work?’ both challenge the societal view that men are stronger and more well abled than women. Geraldine Ferraro,a former member of the United States House of Representatives,gave the speech at an annual National Association of Women Judges meeting. She was the first women to be nominated into national office by a major political party. As a democrat she worked to fight for women’s rights. In her speech she stresses the importance of having females in integral positions in society. For years women have been filling positions once held by men, positions that did not used to be considered women's work. Although they fill ‘mens’ jobs they are not treated as such. Women are paid considerably less than men who hold the same position. Women have worked hard to get where they are but there is still the gender gap, and an ever present one at that. She states that something must be done to ensure that the role of women is fair one. These themes are impertinant in ensuring that female spies are given equal credit in their field of work. Ferraro probably feels this way because she was one of few women in a male dominated profession, so she got hands on experience with the societal view of women.
The article CIA Women Still Hit Glass Ceiling was written by Brigid Schulte a social issues writer for the Washington Post. Her report states the ratio of male to female in intelligence agencies is very low. This is probably due to the fact that males are more encouraged to join the various agencies. Even though the numbers are slowly increasing something needs to be done...