While staying with old friends in Cambridge, I noticed again a framed letter on their wall—a letter to my friend Betsy from none other than J. Edgar Hoover, evil FBI director for nearly half a century, from 1924 to 1972. When she was a girl, Betsy had dreams of becoming an FBI agent, and wrote to Hoover in 1963 asking how to do it. He sent back this personal reply (click to enlarge):
Guess what the “other positions of responsibility and trust which are held by women” were?
Well, times have changed, and now more than 2,000 women are special FBI agents. The absorption of women into what were traditionally “men’s jobs,” and the recognition that women had a right to go for them, is one of the great moral victories of our time, and I watched it happen. Sadly, in much of the world that victory has yet to be achieved.