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Running Head: Minority Force

Minority Force

[Author’s Name]

[Institution’s Name]

 

Women have come a long way in the area of the workforce in the past one hundred years. If you were to look back one hundred years ago, you would never see a woman working outside the home. Society had the idea that a woman s place was in the home cooking, cleaning, reproducing and care giving. They had the idea that there was no place for a woman in the workforce because that was a place for only men. Yes, it is true that some people may still have this view today, but a lot of things have changed over the years.
Women a no longer only restricted to working in the home doing domestic chores. However, this did not come easily but rather after many years of fighting to get the same rights as men. Slowly women started to enter the workforce fulfilling roles such as secretaries and nurses. It was jobs like these that were viewed as woman s jobs and you would never see a women doctor, fireman or police officer. Women were still being marginalized into a certain category of jobs. However, women continued their fight and today they fulfill such roles as doctors, firemen and police officers.

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There are many stereotypes that women in the law enforcement field have to face. In order to recruit more women into policing, law enforcement agencies should attempt to overcome the idea that policing is a "male-oriented profession".

It used to be that only nursing, teaching, and clerical positions were open to women. A small number of women worked as correctional officers and their assignments were usually limited to peripheral tasks. The integration of women into law enforcement positions can be considered a large social change. Women were traditionally limited to working in juvenile facilities, handling crimes involving female offenders, and performing clerical tasks. In the past, women were not considered as capable as men in law enforcement.

The average policeman and police chief thought of policewomen as a fad and considered their entry into the police field an unjustified excursion into social work. They thought of punitive functions and not preventative ones as the duty of police. No real concerted opposition to policewomen arose in the United States unlike Great Britain , but rather the attitude prevailed that women had to prove themselves good police officers which they most likely could not do.

Women were first let into the law enforcement work force because there seemed to be a need for women, due to the rise in young girls and female offenders in the system. Whether it was for domestic violence issues, sexual assault or what have you.

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There is a lack of women law enforcement role models. Because women comprise only a small number of sworn law enforcement officers, they are less visible to the community. In many communities, women never have the opportunity to see female officers as role models. For this reason, most women had not really considered policing as a career.

But policewoman s presence was still not wholly welcome, they were there because chiefs succumbed to pressure from outside reform groups, not because male administrators or officers saw any need for them. Policewomen s allies remained other male and female social workers, progressives, clubwomen, and other reformers.

Employment opportunities for the female police officer are large. Women will be recruited for many jobs in the field to expand the pool of potential sworn officer. It should be a goal off policing to recruit females so they can be recognized on the streets, making it more of a position that women not in the field of police work an option as a career choice. Allen 1973 States, about women police officers, any question of the value of their contribution to the solution of police problems has long ago been relegated to the limbo of things proved and taken completely for granted. p.213 The status of women police officers has grown since the beginning of women in the law enforcement field. As many might think that it is an overwhelmingly large amount, it is still generally a small amount. Women were 37 of the labor force in 1979, 45 by 1992 Women hold less than 5 of all senior management jobs across the US. Women's representation in municipal police departments serving populations over 50,000 has grown from 3.4 in 1978 to 9 in 1986 - Women are currently 3.7 of sergeants, 2.5 of lieutenants, 1.4 of command staff.

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Now that women are becoming a larger part in the police work force there can be more and sometimes less job related issues. Women may feel more issues have risen because there are more women in the field. Although it could be that women feel more comfortable in the position they hold because more and more women become part of the field. Other than the major issue of gender, women have other issues to battle. Such as race related issues and competition in the workplace. Through out the history of women police officers and women in the law enforcement field have felt some kind of competition. The possibility that women feel as though they need to prove themselves to their male counterparts comes into play. Many societal changes had come and gone before women were widely accepted into the law enforcement work force. In England as early as the Eighteenth Century, during the hearing on a case in court- R. vs. Briggs there was a discussion of the legality of women to serve in a certain compulsory office. One of the judges remarked: I do not know why a woman should not be appointed to be a constable. However a century passed before women were employed in police departments.

Even in that time and place, the statement made by the judge was most likely stating things that were not very well accepted or well liked. After a entire century women were finally let into the field, but not truly accepted.

Now that these old ideas of women not being fit to serve or not being accepted at all have for the most part passed. Women are generally accepted but with the unspoken feelings of approval and need for acceptance being thought and felt.

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In the days of the first women police officers, disapproval and disbelief may have been words to explain and describe the way it was. Many women accepted their responsibilities with astonishing readiness, electrifying their followers into instant activity. When the moment is ripe for it, an idea generally flowers in more than one mind the honorary secretary of a woman s suffrage society called the woman s freedom league, was already engaged in organizing a body of policewomen.

This was then becoming the beginning of women being a mass part of the law enforcement field. Throughout all of the hardships and stereotypes through history that women in the field have had to overcome, women have made themselves a part of it all.

History of Women In The Police Service

In the past, policing and women were never associated with each other. Policing was a male dominated profession which women were not welcome to join. However, these biases and unfair beliefs that women were not welcomed in the police force began to change slowly. In the nineteen tens and twenties women began to be employed by the police forces. Women s social groups began to lobby that women should be able be employed by police forces in society. With all of the support groups that women were involved in, pressure began to mount for there to be a representation of women in male dominated police forces.

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The first women officer in Canada was sworn in by the Vancouver police force in 1912. 1912: Vancouver Mrs. Lurancy Harris ad Miss Miller were sworn in as 4th class constables they were likewise skilled at defusing family fights and doing undercover work on vice squads that called for women. Women were put into these special units that dealt with mainly women and children because women were not seen as being strong enough to handle duties that male officers were subject to.

Women were very discriminated against and had only a small number of representations within the police force. Even though there were women police officers, they were not seen as real officers. Most of the women hired by police agencies were performing traditional women s jobs including secretarial work or as specialists in juveniles Cohn, 188 . These were the main roles that women police officers were historically given if they were to be associated with a police force. However, this has changed over the years.

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It was not until after world war two that women began to be hired by police departments voluntarily. Women had proven that they could handle themselves in situations that dealt with high stress levels. World war two provided convincing evidence that women were valuable auxiliaries within all-male organizations men may differ to the office but resist being controlled by or differential to a woman.

Some people in society may judge people by their race or gender. This can cause some members of society to judge a female officer by her race or gender. Thus, this can cause problems because some people give certain races or genders more respect than others. Some people may see a male officer as more authoritative than a female officer and this gender difference in turn may alter a citizen s attitude toward a female officer. Therefore, some citizens may not feel comfortable with women being in a controlling and authoritative position.

It has been observed that, in general, women leave the force more often than men. One RCMP report showed that female officers quit the force at twice the rate of men. Police forces want to increase female representation but with the high turnover rate, it is not working as well as they had planned. This could be due to the fact that it can be hard for female officer to adjust to a job that was traditionally looked upon as being male dominated. However, this problem could also be a result of the police force recruiting incompetent people to fill a mandate. Either way, the number of females leaving their careers in law enforcement is exponential compared to that of the rate of males.

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Sexual harassment is another problem that female officers may face when working in a police force. Six out of every ten female Mounties surveyed say that they have experiences some sort of sexual harassment in the force. Many women have to put up with men making suggestive comments to them. When this occurs they can either make a formal complaint, not say anything so as not to cause a problem, or ask for a transfer. Some women have even taken cases to the courts and have walked away with large settlements. Others women may just simply leave the force.

Last of all, the erratic hours of patrol assignments can make it hard for women who are largely responsible for the child care obligations in their family. Only if administrators understand women s dual role responsibilities and implement policies that allow them to meet both sets of obligations, will the police force be able to retain it s women. This is one of the reasons that women may take administrative jobs in the police force. If a female officer becomes pregnant, she must leave her patrol assignment. Thus, some women would just rather take on positions that allow them to work regular hours and maintain a family also.

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CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we have seen that women have come a far way since the first women officer. However, there is still much needed to be done to improve the ways in which women in the police services are treated and the present obstacles that they face which are stated in this paper. Society must look past old ideas and stereotypes of women and accept them as equal members and peers.

Also, society as well as the police services conscience of this problem should find way to change this problem and improve all relations of women in the work force. This phenomenon exists in all other male dominated professions such as firemen, security officers and doctors. It seems that before employers are willing to hire females into traditionally male dominated positions the women must prove themselves capable of filling those positions. We see this present in females working in the police services. Not only do these women have to prove it to the police services that they are capable of filling these positions but to society also. However, they will only be able to prove their strengths and ability to fill these traditionally male dominated positions if they are given the same opportunities as men to attain them.

It is not that women are unable to fulfill the duties that come with being a police officer; it is just that they are still trying to fight old policies and obstacles that hinder their ability to perform as a competent police officer. Police forces need to work together to change policies and educate new recruits of women s ability to perform just as well as men as being police officers. It is true that they have come a long way but they still have a few areas that they need to address.

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References

Price, Barbara. A century of Women in Policing, Clark Boardman, 2002.

Boston. Rafter, Nicole. Partial Justice: Women in State Prisons, Northeastern University Press, 1995.

Martin, Susan E. Women on the move A Report on the status of Women in Policing, Police Foundation, 1999.

Price, Barbara. Sexual Integration in American Law Enforcement, John Jay University Press, 1995.

Brown, J. Policewomen: an international comparison, 1995.

Carien, P. Women's Imprisonment, Routledge, 1993.

Heidensohn, F. M. Women in Control? - the role of women in law enforcement, Clarendon press, 2000.

Heidensohn, F. M. Crime and Policing, The Future of Europe, 1997.

Hunt, J. The development of rapport through the negotiation of gender in fieldwork among police, Human Organisation, 1994.

Jones, S. Policewomen and Equality, Macmillan, 1996.

Martin, S. E. Breaking and Entering: policewomen on patrol, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000.

Martin, S. E. Doing Justice, Doing Gender - women in law and criminal justice occupations, Sage, 1996.

Prenzler, T. A problem oriented approach to preventing sex discrimination in police recruitment, Crime Prevention Studies, 1996.

Schulz, D. M. Invisible no more: a social history of women in US policing, McGraw Hill, 1995.

Potts, L. W. Equal employment opportunity and female employment in police agencies, Journal of Criminal Justice, 2003.

Weisheit, R. A. Women in the state police: Concerns of male and female officers, Journal of Police Science and Administration, 1997.

 
 


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