Letter to DOJ Leadership Sheds Light on Gender Inequality in Agency Leadership

A network of 375 Department of Justice employees and contractors wrote a letter to DOJ leaders last week expressing concern regarding the number of women in high profile leadership positions within the agency. The letter outlines the importance of a diverse workforce and highlights the department’s failure to hire and retain women in the workforce.

The DOJ Gender Equality Network, whose president and vice president sent the letter on behalf of their board, noted that there are currently no women in top-level leadership roles in the Antitrust Division, Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Division, National Security Division, Tax Division, and Solicitor General’s Office.

The group attached a chart to the letter displaying the genders of the individuals holding top leadership positions within the department.

The chart shows only one female, Jean Williams, a career leader within the Environment and Natural Resources Division.

The letter noted women only hold 38 percent of managerial Senior Executive Service (SES) positions in litigating components of the department.

The letter reads, “A diverse SES leadership shows that the Department is committed to fostering ‘an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organization.’ We believe that when more women and employees of diverse backgrounds are in the SES roles, decision makers will be exposed to a greater variety of ideas and perspectives, which in turn fosters greater innovation and productivity, and better results.”

This is not the first time a lack of diversity within the department has come under fire.

In June 2018, a DOJ Inspector General report found that women made up only 16 percent of the department’s Criminal Investigators and occupied only a few of the department’s Criminal Investigator executive leadership positions. Similarly, women held only between 6.3 and 11 percent of the top leadership positions across law enforcement components.

The DOJ Gender Equality Network requested that the department “be vigilant in recognizing the importance of gender diversity and inclusion when making hiring decisions for leadership positions in [the Department’s] offices.”

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