Women in Law Enforcement
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". This paper will cover parts of the history of women police officers, some views and stereotypes of the female officer, job related issues, life outside of the workforce and job satisfaction.
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.” (Horne, 1975)
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.
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.” (Miller, 1999)
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)...