In 1972, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Acts was passed in Congress, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or nation of origin. After the enactment of the bill, women were once again allowed to join the FBI, more than 40 years after the Bureau last employed a female agent.
|Image source: fbi.gov|
Before, only three women had become FBI agents, namely Lenore Houston, who resigned in 1928, Jessie Duckstein, and Alaska P. Davidson, who is famous for being the first female Special Agent.
Davidson was born in 1868 in Ohio and had completed only three years of public education. When the Mann Act of 1910 was passed to protect women from prostitution, debauchery, or other immoral purposes, the Bureau of Investigation (which was what the FBI was called back then), became interested in hiring female agents.
Alaska Davidson received training in New York City, eventually becoming appointed a Special Agent by Director William Burnes on Oct. 11, 1922, at the age of 54. She was described as “very refined,” thus, she could not be assigned to cases that were considered “rough.” The Bureau, though, found a use for her in other cases.
But when J. Edgar Hoover became the Bureau’s acting director in 1924, he went on to clean house and found “no particular work for a woman agent.” Because of this, he asked Davidson, along with the other two female agents to resign.
|Image source: wikimedia.org|
Prominent criminal justice professional Adam Quirk has served in both the U.S. DEA and FBI. He is most acclaimed for his work in leading drug diversion and solving violent crimes, facilitating effective collaboration with both internal partners and state and local law enforcement agencies, and translating technical subject matter to lay audiences. For more discussions about the FBI, follow this Twitter page.