A week of milestones for women in the FBI

(CBS News) This week marks a week of milestones for the FBI -- not only does is it the 40-year anniversary of women in the FBI but the highest ranking woman, Jan Fedarcyk in the FBI is retiring this week.

CBS News special correspondent John Miller sat down with Jan Fedarcyk, who is the assistant director of the bureau and runs the New York office. She is the highest ranking woman in the field and the first woman to command the FBI's biggest and busiest office. This week -- her last on the job -- she has run classified briefings on terrorism and espionage, visited her five regional FBI to talk with the nearly 3,000 on her team.

Fedarcyk reflected on her childhood and said she never hesitated to run with the boys. "While they were playing cops and robbers, I was right there with them," she told Miller in a report that aired Friday on "CBS This Morning."

During her tenure, Fedarcyk has overseen the largest coordinated takedown of organized crime in history, managed complex terror investigations, and has been at the forefront of the crackdown on Wall Street fraud.

Today, only three out of every ten FBI agents is a woman but Fedarcyk does not want to dwell on the disparity. She'd rather focus on the elite standing of those who do make it to the bureau.

"Let's not distinguish between a female special agent and a male agent. Of all of the people who want to be where we are as special agents, all of the people who make applications to come into the FBI and serve as a special agent, less than 2% make it through the door," Fedarcyk told John Miller.

Fedarcyk began her career with the FBI in 1987, but it was in 1972 when the FBI hired its first two female agents -- a former nun and a former Marine -- Susan Roley Malone and Joanne Pierce.

Joanne Pierce remembers her first few days with the bureau. "We were all taken down to Quantico to begin training. there were 45 of us in that class at that time. 2 women and 43 guys," Pierce said.

Susan Roley Malone remembers the public interest surrounding herself and Pierce when they became agents. "Having the first two women FBI agents was publicized in all the papers in America. I laughingly say I'm a footnote in history," she said. "Everybody wanted to see who we were. Sometimes I felt like an exhibit in a museum."

"They were pioneer special agents. Those two women charted the course for the rest of us." Fedarcyk said of Pierce and Roley Malone.

And while today there are more than 2,600 female special agents and three of the top FBI executives in New York are women, there has yet to be a female director of the FBI, a milestone Fedarcyk says will come "hopefully in my lifetime."


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