(The Root) — The man who made history by becoming America’s first black president just made history again by appointing the first woman to head the Secret Service in the agency’s 147-year history. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama swore in Julia Pierson, a 30-year Secret Service veteran, as head of the agency.
Pierson’s selection is both monumental and significant for a number of reasons. The agency weathered one of the biggest scandals since its inception, with agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes during official trips. The scandal raised questions about whether or not the agency is a boys’ club, and also sparked questions about gender diversity. The agency is not the only government institution grappling with such questions.
President Obama has faced ongoing criticism regarding a lack of both racial and gender diversity in his second-term Cabinet and among his senior advisers. Though director of the Secret Service is not a Cabinet-level position, it is one of the most important law-enforcement roles in the country. With this appointment the president has shattered one of America’s oldest glass ceilings, something that feminists and all Americans must give him credit for, and something that will likely become a significant credit to his legacy long after he has left office.