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Women in Executive Protection — The Battles & Benefits

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It’s no secret that there are fewer women in executive protection than men. Women aren’t often advised to take up security roles, which is why there’s such a huge gap. But with the demand for female EP agents being higher than ever, how is the industry changing?

Today, we’re going to talk about all the benefits women in executive protection can have, along with some downsides. And if you’re a woman pursuing a career in close protection, we’ll hopefully convince you what an incredible career you can have by the end.

The Upside of Female Executive Protection

As we said, the demand for female executive protection agents has never been higher than it is now. And it’s not surprising, given how women can bring a whole different perspective to the table. So if you’re on the fence, these are just some of the reasons that make women and the EP industry a perfect fit.

Blending Into the Environment

One important thing that people outside the industry don’t often know about is that size very rarely matters. Ensuring someone’s safety has nothing to do with stature, and all to do with your skillset. In fact, being big and brawny makes you easy to spot, and attract attention.

On the other hand, female bodyguards tend to fly under the radar, as most people assume that they’re assistants, nannies, or partners. That is a huge advantage, especially when it comes to being able to assess risks.

Many clients feel uncomfortable with highly visible or “overt” protective details,
especially when an agent is assigned to protect their families. A female protection agent may blend better at a corporate function, a business or family luncheon, as well as school activities or a shopping spree at the mall. The fact that women are mostly assumed to be the PA, the mother, the nanny, or a friend, makes their real identity remain under the radar. Finally, let’s not forget that for most people, women are not considered capable of posing a threat or that they present any resistance. Denida Zinxhiria Grow, Founder & CEO of Athena Worldwide, Athena Academy, and Nannyguards.

Bringing New Skills to the Table

More often than not, women can’t solely rely on their physical strength to get them out of a tough spot or confrontation. Their physical presence often isn’t enough to scare someone off, which again, is a huge plus.

For one, it means that the chance of a confrontation becoming physical is much lower, and the level of violence is smaller. That alone allows female bodyguards to approach the situation differently, and de-escalate it better. Using their soft skills alone, women can protect their principals while avoiding altercations.

What’s more, when working for female clients, women are more likely to consider some specific needs ahead of time. For example, even packing something as small as a hair tie can prevent potential delays and changes to the security plan.

 Don’t be intimidated by the amazing talent in the industry. The former military and LEO’s bring great skill sets, and as someone who doesn’t have either of those backgrounds (mine is in business operations), I have discovered that my talents – though different,  have made for very successful experiences with my clients.  Professionalism, confidence, and integrity go a long way and make us an even more valuable asset to the world of EP.  Erika Collins, Operations Coordinator at Severance Security-Miami

Female Propriety

Here’s a secret of the EP industry that not a lot of agents mention — women can go into a lot of places where men can’t. That’s especially true when protecting female principals. As a woman, you can go into a woman’s bathroom with your client, without any sort of awkward interaction. 

You can also go into dressing rooms or hotel rooms, without raising any suspicion or looking out of place. All of this ties into what we were saying about blending into an environment, and being able to assess risks much better. But there’s more to it.

Certain religions and cultures don’t allow women to spend time with men outside of their family. Also, children oftentimes respond better to women than men, which can make or break a contract.

From a woman’s perspective, being protected by another female offers an additional level of comfort and trust. Women share a natural discretion and sensitivity to female-specific issues and emotions. The security detail has an intimate understanding into the client’s personal world. Because of this, it is vital to have an emotionally intelligent female agent who is protective and simultaneously nurturing. In a family setting across many cultures, male clients view women as appropriate and safe company for their spouses and children.  — Samantha Spano, Founder of Stealth Assurance Services

women in executive protection

The Challenges Women in Executive Protection Face

As you’ve probably pieced together by now, being a woman in close and executive protection has a ton of benefits. But it also comes with its own unique set of challenges. 

For starters, whether we like to admit it or not, EP can be a boys club, so breaking into the industry isn’t always easy for female bodyguards. Also, the market for female EP agents is just now starting to widen, which wasn’t the case historically.

Another thing that could potentially influence you to get a contract as a female bodyguard is your appearance. While it’s true that men and women in EP both have to follow certain dress codes, it’s sometimes a requirement for women to have softer facial features. 

With that said, men can often be passed over for opportunities if principals don’t feel that their features are masculine enough. 

Bottom Line

Here’s the bottom line — do the women in the executive protection industry have it tough? Of course, they do, but it has nothing to do with their gender. It’s also important to note that there’s no rivalry between male and female bodyguards. Everyone’s there to do their jobs, and do them right.

Nowadays, there is a lot of good representation in the EP industry, and the female agents that talked with us today are an incredible example of that. So if you’re trying to break it into the industry, absolutely go for it. Just make sure that you have all your ducks in a row before you start applying.

And if you need some assistance with those ducks, we’re more than happy to help. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest tricks and tools to help you advance in the industry.

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