Female TSA officers are in such high demand to conduct pat-downs that they get pigeonholed as checkpoint workers and miss out on chances for other experience that would earn them promotions, a top member of Congress said Tuesday.
Female officers are required to pat down women travelers and also are preferred for pat-downs for children, which means that they end up conducting more than half of the pat-downs, even though they are just a third of the TSA workforce, said Rep. Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
"The result is that female TSOs are not getting the experience at other stations to be considered for promotion," Ms. Lowey told Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Mr. Johnson said the conundrum was news to him, but said he didn't doubt it was possible.
He said he doesn't want to see a situation where men are patting down women at security checkpoints, so given the makeup of the officer corps, women probably do end up getting stuck at the pat-down stations.
"I wouldn't want to see that deprive them of promotion opportunities. So I will look into that," he promised.
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