Women now head the top three directorates of the CIA according to NBC News, a major milestone for an agency long dominated by men. Gina Haspel, a former secretive operations officer and the first woman to lead the CIA, has named more experienced analysts and more women into leadership roles since her confirmation.
Haspel named 34-year agency veteran Elizabeth Kimber as deputy director of operations in early December. She is the first woman to hold the powerful position. Haspel also named Sonya Holt, who also has over three decades of experience, as chief diversity and inclusion officer.
Most recently, Haspel appointed Cynthia "Didi" Rapp as deputy director for analysis, the top analyst position in the CIA.
Rapp's appointment means that the top three directorates of the agency — operations, analysis and science and technology — are now all headed by women. It's a significant moment for the CIA, which has long grappled with allegations of gender discrimination and harassment, and has had few women hold top-level roles.
"Didi Rapp brings broad, deep expertise from across the Agency and the Intelligence Community to her new role as the head of our Directorate of Analysis," Brittany Bramell, CIA director of public affairs, said in a statement. "With her engaging leadership style and reputation for objectivity, Didi will excel in leading our talented analytic cadre."
Over the years, the CIA has substantially increased the number of women in its ranks. The agency's workforce is now nearly half women, both in agency analyst and senior management roles, according to the CIA's website.
And women have played key roles throughout the agency's history, even if they haven't always received public recognition for their achievements. A powerful group of female analysts known as "the Sisterhood," tracked Osama bin Laden and his connection to al Qaeda. Another majority female team identified Aldrich Ames, one of the agency's Russian spies.
President Trump appointed Haspel to lead the agency after tapping former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. When she was sworn into office in May 2018, the administration declared it a battle won in the "war against women." Upon Haspel's confirmation, the CIA celebrated its progress towards gender parity, releasing a report that showed that between 1980 and 2012, female representation increased from 9 percent to 44 percent of mid level to upper-mid level positions.
But despite more high-profile appointments, many women at the CIA couldn't break the "glass ceiling," due to unconscious biases embedded in the culture of the agency, according to the report.