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NCJ Number: 201501 Find in a Library
Title: Difference in the Police Department: Women, Policing, and "Doing Gender"
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:August 2003  Pages:330-344
Author(s): Venessa Garcia
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 15
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that the acceptance of women as different continues to keep women police in subordinate positions and creates conflict.
Abstract: The acceptance of women as different has perpetuated the police cultural norm that having a woman’s orientation makes it difficult to do a good job in policing. It was not until the early 1900's that women made inroads into policing. The work of policewomen has been described as specialized social workers. Policewomen had to cooperate with men to be effective. It was understood that the policewoman’s purpose was not to replace men in their occupation but to aid and assist them. Until the 1970's, the history of the policewoman reveals duties that were custodial and directed toward females and juveniles. The roles and experiences of policewomen are similar to women entering other male occupations. Women are repeatedly channeled into the least desirable jobs within an occupation. Women are perceived as delicate, emotional supporters, and nurturers. This is apparent when looking at the duties of the policewoman and at the conflict created by the presence of women police. If a woman acts too feminine, she is criticized for not being suitable for the job. If she acts too masculine, she is criticized for not acting like a woman. The women police in one study that displayed feminine roles were “doing gender.” They experienced a low amount of stress and frustration; however, they were not seen as professionals. The women that did not do gender also experienced stress and frustration, although to different degrees. Of all these women, none were respected as a woman and none were accepted as an equal. This conflict is a result of engaging in a male occupation, the ultimate rejection of doing gender. To re-value women’s orientation does not reduce this conflict if the structure of the police organization is not changed. 38 references
Main Term(s): Male/female police officer relations; Police women
Index Term(s): Equal opportunity employment; Females; Gender issues; Male female police performance comparisons; Minority police; Police personnel
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