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Gender and Police Work Essay


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Gender and Police Work

In the US, law enforcement agencies have embraced gender diversity though there have been reports in the media indicating that women are actually underrepresented in US law enforcement agencies (Franklin & Ashley, 2014). This paper seeks to briefly describe barriers in recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention women in the US face with regard to police work as ell as discuss why this is the case.

Police work has always been perceived as men’s work. This perception has negatively impacted on the recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention of female police officers within the US. Barriers associated with this trend include the masculine organizational structure of the US police force (Smith, 2011). Workplace hostility against women working in the police force, gender stereotyping, sexual, and harassment as well as gender discrimination. There are internal barriers and tend to start at the recruitment and subsequent hiring stage and tend to continue through out a female officer’s career (Franklin & Ashley, 2014). External barriers include family responsibilities as well as gender bias at the community level.

These barriers arise as a result of social and cultural aspects prevalent in society (Franklin & Ashley, 2014). Traditionally men have sought to have control over the affairs of women. This has resulted in the development of social and cultural barriers which deny women the right to work in masculine oriented disciplines. Other social opponents of integrating gender diversity in law enforcement agencies include the media different social institutions. These present barriers resulting from social prejudices, stereotypes, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism (Franklin & Ashley, 2014). The media has the power to influence societal norms and as such negative portrayal of female officers undermines the progression of women in police work. Stereotyping, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism also have the same effect of erecting barriers impeding the recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention women in police work.




Franklin, T. W. & Ashley, G. B. (2014). The Depiction of Female Municipal Police Officers in the First Four Decades of the Core Cop Film Genre: “It’s a Man’s World”, Women & Criminal Justice, 24:2, 83-105.

Smith, B. B. (2011). Women in law enforcement: How gender differences enable new police leaders. Retrieved from

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