Women in Law Enforcement: The Gender Divide Continues, but with Slow Improvement

women in law enforcementHow many women in law enforcement have you seen in your local town or city over the last decade? No doubt you’ve noticed that women are usually in the minority when it comes to working as police officers or working in security. Even though they’ve held a few positions in this field since the beginning of the 20th century, the Department of Justice says women only represent 13% of the law enforcement work force today.

This kind of astonishing gender divide shows how perceptions about certain careers in America have become hard to break. If we’ve seen similar gender issues in many other fields (including the movie industry), law enforcement has many similar divides.

Much of this problem comes from male tradition of domination in certain fields while women become ridiculed by their male peers. Even if some women manage to get jobs in urban police departments, many of them feel intimidated wanting to advance in their careers. The percentages go into the single digits when totaling the amount of women in supervisory roles.

Current statistics show that only 7% of all women in law enforcement end up in the rank of captain or other executive position. Because of this, it might seem as if women have too many gender barriers if they decide to go into law enforcement.

This shouldn’t discourage you if you’re a woman with a longtime dream of working in this field. The reasons go by improvements and support from various organizations helping women find a successful path to advancement. Also, the media is helping paint a more positive spin on women in law enforcement roles that may inspire a new generation.

Finding Education

Getting educated to work in law enforcement utilizes both the body and the mind since it requires certain physical requirements and reasoned ability to respond to crime situations. The National Center for Women & Policing reminds you of how secure law enforcement jobs are nowadays because of the dire need. As crime increases, law enforcement will always be hiring in numerous (and sometimes new) categories.

In the realm of getting a degree, it all depends on where you work. While some agencies accept only high school degrees, having at least a bachelor’s degree helps you land better jobs. It also helps educate you on the crimes facing our country so you have a more intellectual frame of mind when working.

No matter whether you have a degree, training usually takes place in the agencies where you work. Prior to training in an academy, you’ll also be tested thoroughly with written, physical, oral, and psychological tests. Your background is additionally looked at carefully so agencies make sure you don’t have a criminal record.

Organizations Helping Women Progress in Law Enforcement

As a woman, you should never feel intimidated going into law enforcement alone. Many organizations now exist that help bring support and provide information for you on how to progress. The National Center for Women and Policing has been around for 20 years as an organization devoted to promoting women in law enforcement. They also connect their policy to domestic abuse and better police responses from women police officers.

You also have the International Association of Chiefs of Police established in 1998 to help women find jobs in law enforcement. They’ve conducted numerous studies proving women are just as effective as men in these career roles. One of those studies found more positive portrayals in the media of women officers.

It’s true that when you see shows like “Law & Order: SVU”, strong women in influential law enforcement roles are growing on TV and in movies. While it’s perhaps still a minority acting role, the growing support will likely inspire women viewers to seek law enforcement careers for themselves.

Contact us here at Legal.Education to find out more information about women in the law enforcement field and how we can help you.