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: 78476 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Women Are Succeeding in Male Institutions (From Women in Corrections, P 27-36, 1981 - See NCJ-78474)
Author(s): C G Graham
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Assoc
Alexandria, VA 22314
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: American Correctional Assoc
206 N. Washington St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the historical quest for women's equality of opportunity, contends that correctional careers are now accessible to women, and delineates both the obstacles still to be overcome and the attitudes necessary for the success of female officers in male institutions.
Abstract: The principal contention is that the only ingredients necessary for being a woman employed in a male institution also apply to male correctional workers; masculine traits are not necessary but professional traits are. Elizabeth I, Amelia Earhart, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, and Eleanor Roosevelt exemplify accomplished personalities who nevertheless contributed to the stereotype of an unattractive successful woman. Legislation and court action since the 1920's have culminated in the Equal Employment Opportunity Act which legally opened the door for women to obtain the type of employment they desire. Nevertheless, resistant male attitudes still root in myths about females' traits and social roles and are compounded by negative tactics of the women's rights movement. A 1978 survey of correctional institutions in 29 States found that only 2 percent of correctional officers were female. The trend is for increasing the number of women in the correctional workforce. The most difficult area for women to enter is the adult male institution. The rationale for keeping women out of this work cites the impropriety of the female presence in this setting, fear of public reaction, norms against exposure to male nudity, and expectations of female officers' lenience. Experience shows advantages in female officers' presence, which provides better morale, a feeling of normalcy, lessened tensions, and new images of women as professionals. Disadvantages include complications of privacy issues, security, and the sexual responses of deprived inmates. These can be overcome through women's commonsense measures, professional skill, and dedication to the chosen profession. Women officers in male institutions are advised to be themselves and not masquerade as men, never use their femininity as an excuse in meeting obligations of the work, but make the most of female characteristics that could enhance the humanness of correctional institutions. Five references are given.
Index Term(s): Correctional personnel; Equal opportunity employment; Feminism; Sex discrimination
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.