skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 193115 Find in a Library
Title: Women in Policing: A Tale of Cultural Conformity (From Contemporary Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice: Essays in Honor of Gilbert Geis, P 287-306, 2001, Henry N. Pontell and David Shichor, eds. -- See NCJ-193102)
Author(s): Deborah Parsons; Paul Jesilow
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice Hall Publishing
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Sale Source: Prentice Hall Publishing
Criminal Justice and Police Training
1 Lake Street
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay reviews the history of women in policing and discusses how the conflict between the crime-fighting and service roles of the police have undermined most efforts to integrate women into the occupation.
Abstract: Women were grudgingly accepted into police work, but almost exclusively because they handled situations disliked by the men, in particular, incidents that involved women and children. Almost everywhere they were employed as police officers, for example, policewomen were assigned to patrol theaters in search of truants and disruptive children. Efforts by the women to define their mission as crime prevention, however, were often disregarded by police chiefs. Across the United States, policewomen were required to perform many tasks that resembled standard police work, such as interviewing sexual assault victims, interrogating women felons, keeping records, disseminating information to the public, taking complaints, serving as decoys, and patrolling areas of prostitution. Revolutionary changes occurred in women's roles during the 1960's and 1970's, both in the larger society and in policing. In policing, women sought occupational equality with men in patrol work. Since their integration into patrol, efforts to attract and hire women into law enforcement have been minimal, and litigation has often been required to achieve change; however, such suits have failed to result in equality, in part because judicial decisions that require police departments to hire minorities and females continue to underrepresent women. Pervasive negative beliefs regarding the abilities of women to perform the police role continue to exist, despite research findings that women perform equally as well as their male counterparts. Efforts to integrate women into police work have fallen short, largely because they have not altered the police value system, which supports certain attitudes and personality traits. In the police value system, law enforcement is viewed as the primary responsibility. Studies have shown, however, that actual police activities consist mostly of service activities and problem-solving. The continued focus of the police subculture on crime-fighting subverts the primary leadership values of policewomen, who tend to focus on the service role in policing. 101 references
Main Term(s): Police women
Index Term(s): Equal opportunity employment; Gender issues; History of policing; Male female police performance comparisons; Police subculture
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.