In 2004, the show, Veronica Mars hit televisions across North America. The scrappy, smart-mouthed teen knew all the tricks of the PI trade—and had no problems using these skills to catch the bad guy. Despite its cancellation, in 2007, fans crowdfunded a record-breaking $5,702,153 for a Veronica Mars movie, which was released in 2014.
The success of Veronica Mars serves as a great reminder that the North American masses have always supported a well-written, female detective (let’s not forget Nancy Drew, Miss Marple, or even Jessica Jones!).
“But what about real world examples of female private investigators?” you might ask yourself. “Do they exist?”
We’re here to tell you that they most certainly do.
Kate Warne – The First Lady of Private Investigators
The most famous example of a real-life, female private investigator is, Kate Warne. In 1853, she responded to a public advertisement posted by, Allen Pinkerton, the founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
According to Pinkerton Services Inc., Pinkerton was shocked that a woman would even consider becoming a private eye. In fact, he told Kate, “It is not the custom to employ women detectives!”
Kate wasn’t happy with his response, telling him, “Women could be most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective.”
She also pointed out that, “Women are excellent observers and have a keen eye for detail.” She told Pinkerton that it was much easier for a woman to become friends with girlfriends or wives of suspects and that when women encourage a man, they tended to brag or say things they might not otherwise say to anyone else.
Needless to say, Pinkerton was impressed and Kate proved herself to be one of his most valuable detectives.
The good news is, that since Kate’s time, the industry has certainly opened itself up to welcoming female private investigators. It’s true that compared to male detectives; there aren’t as many historical or famous examples of female detectives. However, according to PI magazine, there are currently around 60,000 PI’s in the United States and at least 15% of them are women.
Benefits to Hiring a Female Private Investigator
The cold hard truth is it doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman in the private investigation industry. The nights are along and the job just isn’t as glamorous as television, books or movies make it out to be. That being said, there are some notable benefits to hiring a female private investigator that just might make you think twice before you hire anyone else.
Many of the skills that a private investigator needs come quite naturally to women (in fact, Kate Warne was pretty spot on with her argument). According to a recent interview Forbes conducted with Lindsay Moran, an ex-CIA agent, women have more of a natural ability to listen, while men require a bit more training and instruction. Despite the fact that Moran was a CIA agent, listening is a skill that is also very important to private investigators. Not only do they have to understand their client’s problems and concerns, they also have to listen to anyone they interview or interrogate.
In addition, most women aren’t as physically strong as men. Therefore, female private investigators have to assess the situation and act a little bit differently compared to their male counterparts. Female detectives learn how to hone their ‘gut feeling’. This helps them to clearly assess the level of danger that could present itself during a stakeout (for example). This technique keeps female private eyes, and other involved parties, safe.
The Bottom Line
We could go on and on because are many reasons why women make excellent private detectives! The bottom line though is that typically, women are underestimated. No one suspects the woman driving a minivan with stickers stuck all over the window, nor do they suspect the lone woman at the bar, ‘waiting for a friend’. This automatically gives female private investigators a distinct advantage.
So, before you pick up the phone and call the first private investigator you find on Google, consider hiring a female private investigator or female-run private investigation firm like The Smith Investigation Agency. While our numbers might seem small, female PIs certainly prove to be a mighty force in the industry.