Watchdog: Women disproportionately dismissed, criticized during FBI training

The Department of Justice Inspector General released a report Tuesday detailing gender inequality issues in FBI training. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The Department of Justice Inspector General released a report Tuesday detailing gender inequality issues in FBI training. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Women undergoing FBI training receive a disproportionate number of performance citations, dismissals and negative evaluations while also being subjected to sexist jokes and remarks, a new watchdog report found.

The report published Tuesday by the Justice Department Inspector General said it found that a substantial number of women undergoing FBI training in Quantico, Va., reported inappropriate behavior and inconsistent instructor evaluations due to their gender.


Specifically, the watchdog report states that women account for 46% of dismissals despite only accounting for roughly 25% of all trainees. It also found that 43% of women reported that they believe men were treated more favorably, 48% said that instructors criticized them more than their male counterparts for doing the same job and 50% said instructors told sexist stories or jokes.

On top of that, nearly half of all women said they were being evaluated differently because of their gender, the report said, stating women also received a disproportionate 36% of Suitability Notations.


The report -- titled Gender Equity in the FBI's Training Process for New Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts at the FBI Academy -- also highlighted the fact that of the more than 50 instructors teaching trainees during the reviewed period, only two were women.

The factors that led to the few number of women instructors were that few women applied to open positions and that the requirements limited the number who would qualify as women did not often have the mandatory certifications.

The inspector general's office said that while it believes women instructors could more effectively communicate with female trainees "we found that the [training division] does not currently have specific recruitment plans to increase the number of women serving in these positions."

"Creating and maintaining a training environment free from bias is critical to ensuring equal opportunities for all new FBI agents and intelligence analysts," Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in a video statement.


The report was the product of interviews conducted with trainees of classes from 2015 through 2020, and was spurred by a 2019 lawsuit filed by 16 former FBI trainees who accused the Justice Department of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and an overall hostile work environment at the FBI academy.

In the report, the watchdog made seven recommendations, including that the FBI maintain, review and analyze data linked to Suitability Notations, Trainee Review Boards and trainee dismissals.

It also calls for the implementation of a recruitment plan to increase the number of women certified to teach tactical and defensive training.

The FBI said it has agreed to all recommendations.

"We look forward to working with the Office of the Inspector General to address the concerns and recommendations provided within the report," FBI Training Division Assistant Director Timothy Dunham said in a letter in response to the report. "The FBI has made Gender Equity a priority and has seen multiple improvement since this review was initiated."

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