More Secret Service employees left their jobs for good on Tuesday following the prostitution scandal in Colombia from almost two weeks ago. According to the New York Times, a dozen employees were originally implicated, while another 11 U.S. military personnel remain under investigation. In North Carolina Tuesday, President Obama praised the Secret Service for its hard work in protecting him and his family, and noted that “a couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from what they do.”
While those that choose to serve America should receive honor for their sacrifices, the citizens that choose to take these jobs do not have to always be men. More ladies in the Secret Service would put the “knuckleheads” in place.
Although most occupations in the private sector try earnestly to enforce gender equality in the workforce, such awareness does not always carry out into public service jobs. Men dominate Secret Service agent positions at roughly 90 percent, according to Washington Post columnist Joe Davidson. Alongside this statistic, Davidson mentions the rarity of women reaching high-level positions in the Secret Service, seen with former deputy director Barbara Riggs as one to serve at the top until her retirement in 2006.
Whether more female agents could have deterred the prostitution scandal is impossible to know, but the case nonetheless highlights the issue of the lack of gender equality in the force. An office as important for national security as the Secret Service should hold workers to equal ethics, regardless of gender. But, Americans live in an era marked with the country’s first ever biracial president, and yet mainly men in suits and sunglasses continue to surround him. Women in the United States live with more freedom in terms of education and workplace, but assumptions that they are not tough enough for elite forces like the Secret Service still linger.
This prostitution scandal only further destroy's the public's trust for government officials that chose to disregard the ethical standards of their jobs for selfish reasons. But beyond that, it shows the limitations of those ethical standards, namely that they practically only apply to men.
With more female agents, the Secret Service could learn respect for women in and out of the workplace, a tenant plenty of the politicians they protect strive to guarantee to the public.