The Sisterhood

06.14.13

Stagnation for Women of the CIA

They’re breaking glass ceilings—but not in all departments.

Women have prospered at the CIA in recent years: they make up 46 percent of its workforce, head up two of its four directorates, and count the executive director among their ranks. But in certain departments, like clandestine service, they lag. Why do males continue to dominate? One reason may be that they don't have as many family obligations. Nada Bakos, a woman who spearheaded the CIA's team that targeted and killed Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, left because she “didn’t have a lot of options at the time to make it work for me and my family.” Additionally, they do not have a lot of options for spouses: “I would love to see a shift from the way assignments are traditionally handled to accommodate the needs of both working spouses,” Bakos has said.