Women in Policing
History, duties, and leadership roles
Genesee Community College
This paper was prepared for Administration in Criminal Justice 205, Section 99, taught by Professor Bushen
Abstract: The journey of women in policing and police leadership has been long and strewn with obstacles and issues. The aim of this paper is to examine and discuss women in the policing. This paper will attempt to discuss the struggles and problems women face when taking a leadership role. This paper will give a brief history of the roles women played when first being introduced into the criminal justice system along with the roles they obtain now.
22). “The first “modern” city police organization established in the 1840s recruited only men and it was not until 1910 that the first policewomen were hired” (Natarajan, 2008, p.22). Women served in a number of police departments in separate units and performed duties that dealt with juveniles, female criminality, missing persons, and aiding and interviewing victims of sex crimes during World War I and the post-war period. Women during this time were more qualified—educationally—than male officers but were paid far less (Natarajan, 2008, p.23).
In the 1950s-1960s more women were being employed to perform in-house clerical duties and communication support roles. Women were more or less hired into police work because they handled situations that men hated (interviewing victims of sexual assault, interrogating women prisoners, any “social work” role) particularly situations involving women and children (Natarajan, 2008, p.23). The second wave of the Women’s Rights Movement began in the 1960s and continued through the 1970s. The movement was “targeted to achieve women’s civil liberty rights, eradication of gender discrimination at workplace and in education centers, eliminating discrimination in wages, sexual revelation, reproductive rights and subsequently, amending the laws pertaining to these goals” (Duddukuri, 2011, p.4). In 1969 the act “Executive Order” was passed by President Nixon which stated that the federal government could not use sex as a requirement for hiring which changed policing within the Federal Bureau of Investigations and municipal police departments. In 1972 the act “Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act” prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or sex (Grant & Terry, 2008).
The first female officers to wear uniforms, strap gun belts to their waist, drive a marked car, and answer general purpose police calls on an equal basis with policemen was Betty Blankenship and Elizabeth Robinson in 1968 which was a major breakthrough for female officers (Samaha, 2006, p.146). Another breakthrough was in 1972 when 15 policewomen volunteered to go on patrol as an experiment and after a year it was proved to be successful and the title “policewomen” was abolished along with the policewomen’s bureaus. The title “police officer” was established for both men and women (Natarajan, 2008, p.23-24). The increase of women officers was important to improve police community relations in the communities after the civil rights movement, and during World War II the number of women in the police force increased even more. This role of women and even minorities in policing has affected modern policing agencies by making them more diverse and equal.
“Although today through committed recruitment efforts, many departments have increased their complement of officers from underrepresented groups’ (Schmalleger, 2012, p.187). For example, according to the Schmalleger in Criminal Justice a Brief Introduction The...