Woman Named Deputy Chief of Historically Male-Dominated Federal Agency

A woman will now command the Border Patrol, an agency that has been traditionally male-dominated.

Last month, Carla Provost was elevated to deputy chief, making her the first woman to hold that role in the federal agency's 92-year-history.

Historically, the Border Patrol has been slow to hire women. Opened in 1924, the agency didn't hire its first female agent until 1975, according to Motto.

And even with Provost's new title, the gender divide is obvious. Out of its 23,000 employees, 1,026 of them are women.

The division prompted a recruitment effort with the hopes of increasing the number of female agents. The effort yielded 175 new female agents in 2014.

Another element that propelled the recruitment was the fact that the number of women who cross the border has increased.

"Most women are victimized by men, so having a first responder who's a man inherently creates mistrust," said executive director of the Border Action Network, Juanita Molina, in reference to female migrants.

Tucson Sector spokeswoman Shevannah Wray says one other reason for the need for female agents is for search purposes. Although the Border Patrol allows male agents to search female migrants, it prefers that women do so, Wray said.

"It's important that we have a diverse workforce. We work in a diverse environment, and women bring a different perspective to the table," Provost said in response to her promotion. "I think it’s a great day for the women in the Patrol. I think it shows that you’re not limited by being a female in the agency."

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