Every girl has her ambition when she grows up, and their parents have a big influence on whom they will become when they get older, and to what extent they can contribute to the society. Girls will be asked “what do you want you to grow up?” and they would gleefully reply “doctor!” “A beauty queen!” and a “flight stewardess!” they seem to associate women jobs with the feminine side as to what the society dictates a woman should be.
It would be a different sight for us to see a policewoman doing a tough job, a masculine work, especially years ago when they were not accepted in law enforcement, and women partake against criminals are considered taboo. But who will determine who the right gender for an occupation is?
Women began to enter police work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in reaction to the increase in social problems involving women and girls. Problems that were beyond the interest or ability of men to deal with like some fundamental changes in urban life, mostly the effect of immigration and industrialization, that greatly increased the number of females among the homeless, the poor, and the unemployed. During the 19th century where the there was an increase in the arrest and imprisonment rates of women and girls for prostitution, disorderly conduct, drunkenness, and vagrancy.
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As the incidence of crime by females increased, police department felt that they have to do something drastic to prevent such crimes, and they saw that a womanly presence in the police station would help these fallen females regain respectable places in their homes and communities. During the 1960’s, a police department supported the prevention/protection theory. They hired women specifically their most important function was to prevent women and children from becoming victims of crime. Their program was to focus on women and children, and they function in a different women's bureau within the police department.
They obtained their positions as policewomen and were accepted by police departments and communities because of their stated theory and also focus because they carried out their duties effectively.
Alice Wells who wrote the theory of policewomen started it all. The success of the program was the start of a nationwide movement to hire policewomen in all police departments. Wells, an advocate of this program has spoken to many police departments all over the country urging the hiring of policewomen. Although not all police departments observed her urgent request, the role of women in criminal justice began.
Women Behind Criminal Justice
By the mid-1970’s when women began to apply for cadet and reserve officer positions. Most of the police departments were hesitant to hire young women, and if hired they would not be allowed to the streets and experience what real police work is. They rarely allowed to do anything but clerical tasks. Even if they were limited to certain roles, these women were not discouraged to continue what they want to do. Discrimination had made them work harder and proved that they are worthy. Some women were able to use the programs to establish their credibility and strengthen that they were serious about careers in policing. Mostly in small agencies, where hiring is often outside civil service rules, the women were able to impress the chiefs enough to be offered full-time positions when they became available.
Women in law enforcement have several duties that implied beyond their usual activities being police. Many women applied social work concepts and methods to their duties. Some tasks they took in such as; conducting interviews and wrote case histories; went to court and made a proposal regarding sentences based on their case studies. As a consequence, they acted as probation officers to the court, and many policewomen were appointed. As probation officers to women released by the courts, they gave advice and helped out in obtaining clothing, housing, and employment.
Although these women were nontraditional in the careers they wanted, they were conventional in the background and their reasons for becoming policewomen. They consider their role in law enforcement to be that of social service that would protect women and children from becoming delinquents or victims of crimes in the society. Aside from this revolutionary development for policewomen, by the end of the nineteenth century, many reformers recognized the need for women with full police powers to work outside the station house, began pushing for employment of women professionals who would work in the streets with prostitutes, runaways, and criminals. They became social welfare mothers to wayward and misguided women and children.
Thus, this kind of certain tasks assigned to women, they were branded as more of a social worker rather than policewoman; they neither contended with men nor asserted the same goals and duties. Rather, women expressed the idea that they were diverse from men and could execute certain tasks better than men since those tasks fit their natural capacities and tendencies. Therefore, policewomen were accepted by men in police departments, by the public, and by social reformers. Louis Brownlow a reformer said that “policewomen were social workers with a "devotion to mankind.” He thought that women lifted the bar up high the morals and standards of police departments.
Law Enforcement Beyond Gender
Discrimination cannot be disregarded in a male-female police team. Why? Man and woman are likely to perform roles and behaviors that are associated with their sex category. The high-status male officer is expected to always act as the leader and be the dominant one between the two of them, very typical behavior for men; while the low-status female officer is likely to be the follower and show the expressive behaviors that are typical of women. Society already dictated this kind of norm; men wouldn’t want to be dominated by women or else they would be considered a “failure” to masculinity. Women, on the other hand, are hesitant to show the real “toughness” of their nature, unfair as it seems but the gender roles are very discriminating, this only not applicable to law enforcers but to other professions as well.
There were issues or concerns raised about women officers are working in the highly masculine-typed field of policing. Some policewomen also have the difficulties they face in being accepted as fully competent police officers. Since women police officers are often recognized as being more accommodating and more concerned about others’ feelings and this kind of trait were questioned by many people whether women could be firm enough to enforce the law effectively. Well.
Breaking the Norm – Glass Ceiling
As to discrimination against women in law enforcement, women have started to evolve and break the glass ceiling literally of course. Women now are perceived to perform well inside or outside the police station and were given “powers” to act their duties and make sure that their responsibilities are well-taken care of. Policewomen gained their respect from the fellow policemen and to the society, and it helped them to break the rules and explore other opportunities in criminal justice. Women no longer looked at as motherly type in a police department rather than have contributed huge impact in the transformation of law enforcement.
Focus on Women’s Worth
Women who are considerably who utilized her job, skilled, and satisfied with it are more likely to step another level to her career. Further, then the discrimination, double standard, and social conflicts, policewomen have proved enough that they are capable of the tasks and duties accompanied by them being a LAW ENFORCER. Laws have passed to regulate such discrimination, and harassment in police departments has policewomen have earned respect towards their job. Special training courses and bachelors degrees were being offered; financial assistance is also available. Various support groups and organizations and have passed a resolution supporting efforts to "aid the local law enforcement administrators in problems relating to the recruitment, training and most effective use of qualified policewomen.” Such recognition is very important for deserving policewomen who continue to go beyond their way enable them to become a vital role in the society.