Was Captain Holly Graf's behavior overlooked because she was a woman? That's a question that arose soon after the story broke.
Mark Thompson in a Time Magazine article makes the case.
A better explanation is that the Navy failed to move on Graf earlier not in spite of her gender but because of it. Following the Tailhook scandal — in which Navy aviators assaulted dozens of women at a 1991 convention — the service rushed women to sea to show it was no longer locked in the Dark Ages. The service was under political pressure to diversify its leadership, and Graf was part of the answer: the first woman to command both a destroyer and a cruiser. Some veterans believe Graf needed more time to prepare for those commands. "I have some sympathy for her," says Nicole Waybright, a young female officer who served with Graf on the Wilbur Curtis. "The Navy felt under pressure to take a woman and put her on the best and most complicated tactical platform," Waybright says. "But she didn't have much experience on it." Some rookies could have stepped up to that challenge, she adds, but not Graf. "She was," Waybright says, "a terrible ship handler."