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Women in Law Enforcement

By hollie0332006 Jun 09, 2008 700 Words
Women in law enforcement face multiple workplace challenges that can be very trying for them. They face sexual harassment, gender discrimination in the form of the glass ceiling, double standards, differential treatment, and are made to feel like it is career versus family. Many people believe that it is a man’s place to be put in the frontlines where it is the most dangerous and that women should not be allowed there. Sexual harassment is something that does happen more than it should. Many of the older generation officers still believe in the tradition that a woman’s job is not to be in immediate dangerous situations but should be working as a receptionist, nurse or stay at home mom. Many times the harassment goes without being reported because “the code of silence in law enforcement agencies and the severe retaliation that occurs when women report misconduct.” (Text, 56) Women deal with three major forms of sexual harassment which include “Hostile Environment, Quid pro quo Sexual Harassment, and Gender Harassment.” (Text, 56) Hostile environments include sexist jokes, cartoons that depict women as nothing more than a piece of meat and unwanted requests for dates constantly. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is when a female is asked for sexual favors in exchange for a better job assignment. Gender harassment is where women are not assigned certain duties because it is felt that it is too dangerous and whether she is qualified or not, is overlooked for the assignment. The term glass ceiling fits into the gender harassment area. According to Wikipedia, “The term glass ceiling refers to situations where the advancement of a qualified person within the hierarchy of an organization is stopped at a lower level because of some form of discrimination, most commonly sexism or racism.” Another area women struggle with in law enforcement is the double standards that they face not only because they are females but also because should they decide to start a family they are not given the same chances a male in their positions are. According to our text, “when a woman on the force lets her supervisor know that she is pregnant, she is not given light duty, but when a man who is injured off-duty is given the specific light duty assignments required.” (pg 57) Many male officers believe that it is a man’s place to be put in the frontlines where it is the most dangerous and that women should not be allowed there. According to our text, “the traditional male dominance of the profession has made it difficult for male officers to accept that women are able to perform the same tasks they do. They view their work as an occupation for only the strongest and the toughest.”(pg 67-68) The brotherhood is a code between cops and they’re fellow officer and they back one another up. Since police officers deal with so much violence and crime in their jobs most people don’t understand how stressful it is and so it’s not unusual for a cop to turn to a fellow officer for guidance when he is having a difficult time. For a female to become part of this brotherhood she must first become one of the guys in most ways and not thought of in the female sense. There are movies out there such as S.W.A.T. that depicts a woman on a team of swat members and she is just as masculine as the men are. I feel that even though times are changing and women’s right have come a long way, this will remain a constant issue in law enforcement until the older generations are replaced by younger and better diversified officers. The only way for change to happen is when men and women see each other as equals and not as one weaker than the other.

References:
Women in Law Enforcement:
Shusta, Robert M. Multicultural Law Enforcement. 2008. Chapter 2: The Changing Law Enforcement Agency: A Microcosm of Society. Pages 56-57; 67-68 Wikipedia. 2008. The Glass Ceiling from the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Retrieved on May 18, 2008 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_ceiling

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