The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General on Tuesday released a a report of gender equity in various law enforcement agencies. The study took place during fiscal years 2011 through 2016.
Here's what their review found:
• A significant amount of women, especially criminal investigators, had experienced gender discrimination. 33 percent of female ATF agents, 41 percent of female DEA agents, 43 percent of female FBI agents and 51 percent of female U.S. Marshals said they experienced gender discrimination in the last five years.
• All staff perceive that personnel decisions are based more on personal relationships than on merit. Criminal investigators especially felt this to be true.
• One-quarter of female Criminal Investigator survey respondents believed that men were favored for career enhancing opportunities, such as detail assignments, special assignments, and training opportunities.
• Female focus group participants and interviewees, especially those at headquarters and the Washington, D.C. sites said that they believed they had to work harder than men to be recognized by supervisors in their performance evaluation or to receive a performance bonus.
• Both men and women said female Criminal Investigators often delayed having children or did not have children at all because having children could have affected both their promotion potential and the type of unit to which they would be assigned.
• Across the board, all employees didn't trust the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) process. Many who felt they were discriminated against would not report it out of fear of it negatively impacting their career.
Recommendations Moving Forward
Here's what is recommended moving forward:
To address the concerns and negative perceptions related to gender equity in the law enforcement components, we recommend that each law enforcement component:
1. Assess recruitment, hiring, and retention activities to identify barriers to gender equity in the workforce.
2. Develop and implement component-level recruiting, hiring, and retention strategies and goals that address the identified barriers to gender equity in the workforce.
3. Develop and implement a plan to track and analyze demographic information on newly hired staff and applicants, as appropriate, to evaluate recruitment strategies.
4. Identify and take steps to address barriers to advancement for women within the component and among different job types.
5. Develop and implement methods to improve the objectivity and transparency of the merit promotion process.
6. Develop and implement methods to address perceptions of stigmatization and retaliation associated with the Equal Employment Opportunity complaint process.