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Homeland Security Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Hiring First Female Secret Service Agents

Swearing-in ceremony for the Secret Service’s first female special agents on Dec. 15, 1971.

By Steve Neavling

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of women joining the ranks of the Secret Service.

Five women were appointed to become the agency’s first female special agents on Dec. 15, 1971. 

“We didn’t have an alternative other than to do it; to do it right, to jump a little higher, to try a little harder to shoot a little straighter,” Kathryn (Clark) Childers, one of the first five women sworn in, said, WDVM reports. “I am pleased and proud of the Secret Service for making gender a non-issue.”

Childers was joined by Laurie Anderson, Sue Ann Baker, Holly Hufschmidt and Phyllis Shantz, all of whom served in the Executive Protective Service, now called the Uniformed Division. 

Since then, virtually ever leadership position in the agency has been held by a woman. Some of the top leaders were Director Julia Pierson, Deputy Director Barbara Riggs, and Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations Kimberly Cheatle. 

Today, women make up 24% of the Secret Service. 

“What I am hoping for is that we continue the momentum of recruiting, hiring and retaining and advancing women in the Secret Service,” first Latina Deputy Assistant Director Darnelly DeJesus said. 

Watch the ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary.


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