Women in Policing

Women In Policing Policing has always been seen as a man’s profession and up until the past 30 years, women in policing were few and far between. Even the few who did dare to enter the exclusive men’s only club were definitely not welcome. Stories abound of different training for men and women, women assigned to the station instead of the street, non-functional uniforms, less than adequate locker room facilities, sexual harassment, and hostile work environments, both from fellow officers and citizens. While the number of women in policing is growing, the profession is still male-dominated, with the most diverse department having between 30%-40% of its force being female. With acceptance of women in law enforcement weak at best, one has to wonder what prompted these pioneering women to enter this man’s world? Initially, having little to no support, how did women survive in the profession and how have they managed to survive and in some cases thrive? How have women managed to succeed in a world where the perception is that physical strength and brute force are the main avenues to job success? Have women actually succeeded in breaking through the barrier to equality, or is there still work to be done? Public attitudes of women in policing have changed, but have the attitudes of the men in law enforcement progressed as well? This paper will examine the history of women in policing from the first woman police officers to today. How the first women were trained and other obstacles of being the first to enter a man’s world will be addressed. This paper will examine the changing roles of policewomen from specialists to generalist within the realm of policing. It will also examine how attitudes have changed toward women as police officers and how they have managed to change the face of policing both in presence and practice. Women have been a part of the criminal justice system since 1845, when the first woman was app…

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