Why Women Excel In Counter-Terrorism Roles

The different outlooks on life — and possible skill sets — that women bring to the table compared to men make them valuable security and law enforcement employees and leaders.

Photo: Yuda ChenPhoto: Yuda Chen

I just came across a blog post on CNN by former CIA counterterrorism analyst Susan Hasler on the role she and other women played in tracking al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. She talked about what she believed to be the "special genius" women have for tracking terrorists:

"Suppressing one's ego is an important part of being a good counterterrorism analyst. First, you have to be willing to admit up front what you don't know. The amount of data is so large that no one individual can look at all of it. A good analyst acknowledges her blind spots and networks with other analysts to fill them. When it comes to ego suppression, women are just better at it than men. They've had more practice."

Hasler claims that the women who tracked bin Laden were, unlike many of their male co-workers, willing to track al Qaeda at a time when bin Laden and his cohorts were not considered by the CIA to be a "hot account," nor a good way for CIA analysts to get ahead in their careers.

These comments bring to mind a survey Campus Safety conducted several years ago. Despite the fact that women make up more than 51% of the U.S. population, only 12% of the magazine's Salary Survey respondents were women. Additionally, 62% of respondents said that 20% or less of the employees in their departments were female.

Considering the different outlooks on life—and possible skill sets—that women bring to the table compared to men, it just makes sense for campuses to recruit more female police and security officers, chiefs, and security directors. Not doing so could leave your campus and community unnecessarily vulnerable.

So ... what is your department doing to attract and keep women on the payroll?

Robin Hattersley Gray is the executive editor of Campus Safety Magazine, a sister publication of POLICE Magazine.

Page 1 of 6
Next Page