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Doris Bohrer teaches women how to deal with sexism: grab a grenade and sit tight

Doris Bohrer has died. She worked as a CIA agent, joining its forerunner the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to defeat the Nazis. She wanted to be a fighter pilot but they wouldn’t let women do that job. So Bohrer joined the CIA – as a typist. She rose through the ranks to become the CIA’s highest ranking woman.


Doris Bohrer


Her Times obituary contains a gem for anyone worried about what to do when confronted by sexism.

…Bohrer and her female colleagues were treated with near-universal condescension. Men doing the same work were addressed by their military rank; the women were dismissed as “the girls”… Indignant at the the sexist language of the mess hall, she at one point placed a fake hand grenade on the table at which she and a group of officers were eating. One of the men offered, loftily, to take the grenade and make it safe, at which point she pulled the pin. The men scattered, leaving Bohrer to finish her meal in peace.

And that’s how you deal with sexism.

Doris Bohrer, CIA agent, was born on February 5, 1923. She died of heart failure on August 8, 2016, aged 93


Posted: 3rd, October 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0