African American Women in Law Enforcement

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Literature Review on African American Women in Law Enforcement

(Evans Mbogo)

Introduction

This literature review analyzes the problem of underrepresentation of women in top executive positions in law enforcement in the state of Georgia. The study will provide an analysis of the gaps, trends and various occurring problems both in the past and currently regarding how African American Women have been underrepresented in law enforcement agencies. History of the Black women in these job positions will be addressed providing a comparison with their white women and men in general occupying these positions. Historical perspective will trace back these issues from the period of 1900. Also discussed is how diversity at the work place has affected AAW and their performance. Specific concern will be placed on how race and gender have been a hindering factor to their performance. A major issue that affects law enforcement agencies has been the glass ceiling and how over time has been used to hinder AAW at work place. The paper deeply analyzes challenges and various barriers that face women from obtaining promotions of executive positions in law enforcement.

Berg and Budnick (1986) stated that there has been a steady increase of “black” women in the law enforcement departments in the past 20 year but they are still struggling to be recruited in the law enforcement parallels. Under-presentation of not only a woman but a black woman in top executive positions in law enforcement greatly triggers two main factors contributing to the challenges they face: gender and racism rather gendered racism. This has frustrated a lot of the black women population whom were willing to contribute to the law enforcement department as it is evident when only 2 percent of the sworn law enforcement personnel before 1970s where women. This was majorly linked to the culture of white working-class.

It is very ironical, since the literature divulges, despite the major advancements made with an aim of eradicating barriers to AAW employment, the ability of AAW to do well in enforcement of law is greatly undermined by lack of significant count of female employees in this particular field. Organized and open harassment experienced by AAW during patrols has remarkable reduced but still to date AAW officers have to cope with a working environment which is hostile, gendered institutional practices and policies and women denigrating culture with a “masculinity cult” that nourishes violence to them (Shorten, 2006). The department of police has been pressurized by society groups, professional groups, and also their county to recruit more Women, AAW especially (Raganella & White, 2004).

As the profession of law enforcement is male-dominated, stereotypes of gender and pathetic attitude towards female by male counter part, discourages the profession to employ and keep gifted women. As Gossett & William (1998) noted that sluggish development in full integration policing because of obstacles such as male law enforcer’s attitude.

As gender inequality varies across different cultures, The United Nations in 1980 burned inequality due to the fact that: women undertake two-thirds of world’s work besides contributing to half of the global population but unfortunately they earn only a tenth of the total income of the world and a hundredth of global property. Moses was told by God in Leviticus that a woman has a worth of 30 shekels while man’s worth is 50 shekel (Sociology Index, 2002).

As a response towards the rough experiences encountered by the AAW who contributed to their civil rights, liberation of blacks of liberation movement for women, and many participants theorized the coercion had by AAW with an aim to bring the awareness of the matter and also resist such deeds (Beal, 1969). Through this act theoretical concepts came about; multiple consciousness and jeopardy, “triple jeopardy,”...
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