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Gendered Institutions and Gender Roles: Understanding the Experiences of Women in Policing

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 351-367
Tara O'Connor Shelley; Melissa Schaefer Morabito; Jennifer Tobin-Gurley
Date Published
December 2011
17 pages
This article discusses the historical and modern experiences of women in policing.
Men are disproportionately represented in many institutions including law, politics, the academy, and the economy. Women have made great strides in increasing representation in many of these professions with the exception of policing; where police departments have had difficulty hiring, retaining, and promoting female officers. The available literature on women in policing, however, is largely atheoretical and does not thoroughly address advancement barriers and the retention of women. To address this gap in the literature, this article utilizes Acker's theory of gendered institutions to provide a historical review of women's experiences in law enforcement. Acker's four gendered processes are used to organize the existing literature regarding women's experiences as well as coping and adaptation strategies in the gendered institution of policing. Finally, implications are explored and an agenda for future research is discussed. (Published Abstract)