Cops are cops

Material Information

Cops are cops gendered perspectives of female police officers
Valcore, Laura
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
viii, 56 leaves : ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Policewomen -- Attitudes -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Policewomen -- Attitudes ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Thesis (M.C.J.)--University of Colorado Denver, 2009. Criminal justice
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 53-56).
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Laura Valcore.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
464610389 ( OCLC )

Full Text
Laura Valcore
B.A., Eastern Illinois University, 2007
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.)

This thesis for the Master of Criminal Justice degree by
Laura Valcore
has been approved by
Mary Dodge
Jerry Williams

Valcore, Laura (M.A., Criminal Justice, School of Public Affairs)
Cops are Cops: Gendered Perspectives of Female Police Officers
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Mary Dodge
Women in policing have gained much ground in regards to their acceptance and
continued presence in American law enforcement. But there are still unique
challenges and stereotypes female police officers must overcome as tokens in a
male-dominated occupation. This study utilizes a survey of male and female law
enforcement officers in the state of Colorado to explore the current attitudes and
perceptions of female police officers. Results indicate that female officers are
considered equals by their male colleagues, but that the unique challenges they still
face as females are being denied or ignored, and the emphasis on masculinity within
this male-dominated occupation continues.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.

I dedicate this thesis to my partner, Ashley Moreland, whose unconditional love and
support has given me courage to push boundaries, confidence to reach for the highest
goals, and peace to weather any storm.
I also wish to dedicate this work to my younger brother, Joel, whose courage,
dedication, strength, and sacrifice have been both inspiring and humbling. Though
he is the youngest of five siblings, he has become a hero to us all.

I would like to thank my advisor, Mary Dodge, for her instruction and guidance
throughout the length of this study. I also would like to thank my committee
members, Angela Gover and Jerry Williams, for their valuable insight and
participation in the completion of this work.

1. INTRODUCTION......................................1
Current Study..................................2
2. LITERATURE REVIEW.................................4
Proving Themselves..............................5
Biased Physical Standards.......................6
Male versus Female Officers....................8
Promotion and Placement.........................9
Family Responsibilities........................11
Lack of Support................................12
3. THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES......................... 16
4. METHODOLOGY.......................................23

Survey Instrument
Bern Sex Role Inventory....................26
5. RESULTS.............................................29
Survey Responses.................................31
Bivariate Analysis.........................31
Index Analysis.............................33
6. DISCUSSION..........................................40
Policy Implications..............................45
Future Research..................................47

Table 1: Demographics...........................................30
Table 2: Frequencies............................................32
Table 3: Indexes................................................36
Table 4: Index Analyses.........................................38

Women have worked in American law enforcement for nearly a century, but
until the 1970s they were considered unfit for patrol and relegated to clerical
positions, juvenile victims units, and other secondary roles (Martin, 1989;
Scarborough & Collins, 2002). Since the passage of Title XII and the Equal
Opportunity Act of 1972, women have made gains in the public workforce, but
gender discrimination and inequality continue to persist at some level in the
conservative and male-dominated field of law enforcement (Brown & Heidensohn,
2000; Parsons & Jesilow, 2001). Some scholars and commentators have noted that
the challenges women must overcome are numerous and persistent. Female police
officers, for example, have been subjected to tokenism, degradation, and ambiguous
standards. In many cases, even three decades after federal law mandated gender
equality in the workplace, female officers are still being forced into gender
appropriate roles (Parsons & Jesilow, 2001). In 2003, women comprised only 11-
14% of police officers in the United States (Lonsway, Moore, Harrington, Smeal, &
Spillar, 2003; U.S. Department of Justice, 2003).
While women in the criminal justice system are increasingly a topic of
interest to scholars and researchers, many questions are unanswered and many areas
of concern are unaddressed. Related to female police officers, the attitudes and
perceptions that they and their male colleagues hold about their presence and value

in law enforcement needs to be repeatedly explored because the issues are constantly
changing, just as the notions of what is socially appropriate for each gender is
continually progressing. This study explores officers opinions of what has, or has
not, changed about the attitudes and perspectives of female police officers in the
United States. Police officers were surveyed to examine current notions and beliefs
about the role of gender in law enforcement.
Current Study
This study investigates an ongoing topic of interest within law enforcement
and the criminal justice system. Perceptions of gender in policing impact not only
women who desire to work in law enforcement, but also influence the ability of law
enforcement agencies to recruit, hire, train, and retain female officers. Additionally,
stereotypes of female officers directly affect women who seek to be respected in law
enforcement careers. The purpose of this study is to explore the changing roles and
perspectives of women in policing from the viewpoint of both female and male
officers. Additionally, traditional stereotypes of female officers directly affect
women who seek to be respected in law enforcement careers. The Bern Sex Role
Inventory (BSRI) used in this study provides indices of femininity and masculinity
and compares female sex role identities with male officers. The BSRI has been used
in other professions such as nursing and education to examine and explore the impact
of sex category in traditionally gendered occupations. This study is significant

because it is the first to utilize a masculinity/femininity scale in the study of
American police officers.

There are several major areas or issues of concern regarding women in
policing which have in various ways negatively affected the recruitment and
retention of female police officers in the United States. The specific issues
which arise in the literature include family responsibilities, promotional and
placement difficulties, biased physical standards, the masculine subculture of
policing, tokenism, and related topics which are addressed in turn in the
following sections.

Proving Themselves
Historically, female officers were relegated to two polar opposite roles, that
of the policewoman, who accepted gendered norms in the workplace and did not
attempt to break the mold, or that of the police woman, who challenged gender
stereotypes and sought positions within their department traditionally reserved for
men. Of course the majority of female police officers fell somewhere in the middle
of the dichotomy, but they were labeled as one or the other by their colleagues, both
male and female (Martin, 1979).
As recently as 1998, researchers found that female officers were excluded by
their peers or supervisors (Wertsch). According to existing literature, women
officers often are expected to prove themselves above and beyond normal job
requirements (Martin, 1980; Parsons & Jesilow, 2001). Many female officers noted
that they are required to perform at higher levels than is expected of male officers
and that they have to work harder than male officers in order to gain their acceptance
(Wertsch, 1998). Every female officer in Wertschs study reported that they felt
obligated to prove themselves to doubting male officers who were uncertain women
belonged in policing, and the vast majority conveyed that the need to prove
themselves was a constant throughout their careers, regardless of status or rank. Not
surprisingly, according to Wertsch, this extra effort required of female officers
contributes to significant performance pressure and emotional stress.

Carol Martin (1979) predicted that policewomen would begin to take
administrative roles and accept less-stereotyped positions. This prediction has been
accurate, but perhaps not to the expected degree. A recent study by Rabe-Hemp
(2007) discovered that female officers are gaining acceptance in policing every day
by breaking down barriers in promotion and taking stereotypical male assignments.
Despite instances of disrespect or discrimination, the majority of female officers
believed they had gained acceptance in their current agencies. There was an
important caveat though; the officers described acceptance as a progression that must
be repeatedly cultivated, nourished, and preserved.
Biased Physical Standards
Womens entrance into policing has been impeded by the implementation of
unsubstantiated physical testing requirements (Birzer & Craig, 1996; Gaines,
Falkenburg, & Gambino, 1993; Lonsway, 2003). Until the late 1970s, many law
enforcement agencies had minimum height and weight criteria for recruits, but
lawsuits brought an end to this practice because police administrators were unable to
show that officers needed to be a certain size in order to effectively do their jobs.
Twenty years later, critics and scholars began arguing that many of the physical
testing requirements being implemented by police agencies across the country were
adversely impacting women and were just as unnecessary as the height and weight
requirements from decades past. Birzer and Craig (1996) determined that the

physical ability tests being used in a large Midwestern department were not
reflective of actual job performance requirements and that only 28% of female
recruits were passing the tests, compared to 93% of the males. Lonsway (2003)
discovered an extremely large variety of physical agility test events used in agencies
across the United States and vast differences in the performance standards required
for applicants, almost none of which had been linked to valid occupational
requirements. Commentators argue that physical standards of strength and agility
are just a new form of the dated height/weight requirements and many have
concluded that the lack of consistency and validity of physical agility testing is
evidence that the tests are derived from myths and expectations of physical prowess
rather than the true demands of police work (Birzer & Craig, 1996; Gaines et al.,
1993; Lonsway, 2003).
Research shows that approximately 88% of all city, state, and county police
agencies rely on physical ability testing in the pre-entry phase of the selection
process. Not surprisingly, police departments that do not require physical agility
testing generally employ higher percentages of female officers than those who do
(Lonsway, 2003). Stereotypes regarding law enforcement and the role of police
agencies in society make it difficult to separate physical strength and agility from the
list of necessary requirements of an effective officer, despite academic and
professional knowledge that at least 80% of police work is about social service and

crime prevention, not enforcement or control (Birzer & Craig, 1996; Garcia, 2003;
Lonsway, 2003).
Male v. Female Officers
There are several defining characteristics assumed to represent innate or
inherent roles and abilities of female officers, including emotionality, demeanor,
empathy, service to others, and communication skills (Kakar, 2002; Rabe-Hemp &
Schuck, 2007; Worden, 1993). Some opponents of women in law enforcement have
argued that female officers lack the physical strength and emotional control needed
to handle the stress and demands of policing (Parsons & Jesilow, 2001). Research
has shown, however, that female officers are just as capable as male officers, and in
many instances, are perhaps better suited to handle hostile citizens, violent conflicts,
or difficult arrests because they are better negotiators and listeners than most of their
male counterparts (Kakar, 2002; Rabe-Hemp, 2008).
Numerous studies have shown that male officers resort to the use of force,
including lethal force, more often than female officers (Hoffman & Hickey, 2004;
McElvain & Kposowa, 2008; Rabe-Hemp, 2008). Female officers are typically
believed to have better communication skills than male officers and studies suggest
that they are more apt to use these abilities to de-escalate hostile situations and thus
avoid the use of force (Kakar, 2002; Lonsway et al., 2003; Police Foundation, 1981;
Rabe-Hemp, 2008). Several studies warn, however, against stereotyping police

behaviors and skills based on gender because female officers are often less likely to
utilize supporting behaviors such as comforting and caretaking than male officers,
and instead, rely on advice and commands (Rabe-Hemp, 2008; Worden, 1993).
Historically, the primary argument against women in policing was their lack
of physical size and strength, which many assumed to be necessary when making
arrests or handling combative citizens (Garcia, 2003; Rabe-Hemp & Schuck, 2007).
Rabe-Hemp and Schuck (2007) refuted this notion in their study of police
victimization at six large police agencies. They discovered that neither physical size
nor gender is significantly related to occurrences of a police officer being injured by
a citizen. In fact, there were more similarities between genders than differences in
regards to age, race, size, and nature of citizen encounters. Rabe-Hemp (2008)
added that the lack of force utilized by female officers may actually lead to safer
police-citizen encounters.
Promotion and Placement
Scholars have pointed out that while women have increased their
representation within police agencies, particularly in large, urban departments, they
are still vastly underrepresented in supervisory and command positions (Schulz,
2003; Whetstone, 2001; Whetstone & Wilson, 1998). However, there is some
controversy over the extent to which the glass ceiling exists in American law
enforcement. Female officers often are encouraged to seek promotion, but many feel

they are being persuaded to do so solely on the basis of their gender, and not because
they have the qualifications or merit to deserve it (Archbold & Schulz, 2008). Many
female officers show little interest in seeking promotion, even those who have
obtained it earlier in their careers. The most common reasons given are contentment
with current shift or assignment, family and childcare conflicts, and an unwillingness
to fight the system (Rabe-Hamp, 2007; Whetstone & Wilson, 1998). Whetstone and
Wilson (1998) also discovered that administration bias was ranked in the top five
concerns female officers had about promotion, but was not a top concern for male
officers. Several studies have noted that family and childcare concerns are more
prevalent for female officers than males and play a deciding role for women when
determining whether or not to change assignments or seek promotion (Archbold &
Schulz, 2008; Wertsch, 1998; Whetstone & Wilson, 1998).
Choice assignments such as task forces, undercover narcotics, and firearms
instructor are available to female officers, but often come with a price. These types
of special assignments have been historically given to men only, so the women who
take those positions are often isolated by their male peers. However, female officers
who choose dangerous or masculine assignments feel they are the most rewarding
and afford them great esteem and prestige (Rabe-Hemp, 2007). McGrath (2007)
found that regardless of gender, the path to promotion originated in patrol and

investigations, and that specialty positions held no special promise of career
A few women have managed to overcome obstacles and make sacrifices to
reach the highest position achievable by a sworn officer, Chief of Police.
Approximately 1% of police chiefs in the U.S. are women. Schulz (2003) noted that
although women officers are better represented in large, urban departments, women
police chiefs are found almost exclusively in small, rural, or college/university
departments. Schulz (2003) conducted a survey of women police chiefs in order to
determine similarities or patterns between the women and their paths to the top.
The career paths of the 96 women chiefs who responded to Schulzs survey varied a
great deal and no questions were asked about children or family planning. However,
McGrath (2007) concluded that female officers who are promoted hold the same
positions and follow the same career paths as male officers.
Family Responsibilities
Research studies have noted that female officers often have greater burdens
placed upon them due to family and childcare responsibilities, which not only to
contribute to problems in promotion, as previously noted, but also create more stress
(Archbold & Schulz, 2008; Parsons & Jesilow, 2001). Research indicates that it is
not uncommon for female officers to decline participation in the promotional process
because of child care and family responsibilities. Women officers are much more

likely than men to cite childcare and family relations as a reason not to participate in
the promotional process. McGrath (2007) discovered that female officers who
pursue promotion tend to avoid marriage and children. Overall, female officers
rarely consider the costs of adjusting home-life and time with children to be worth
the benefit of a promotion, especially when considering necessary preparation and
study time for promotional exams (Whetstone & Wilson, 1998). Researchers argue
that male officers have fewer familial obligations and rarely have to make similar
career sacrifices (Wertsch, 1998; Whetstone, 2001; Whetstone & Wilson, 1998).
Kurtz (2008) discovered that family support was a significant stress reducer
for the male officers, but not female officers. The results may be reflective of fewer
married female officers in the study, or because the added expectation of being the
primary caretaker and nurturer in the home increases stress for women. Several
studies have concluded that family related stress is greater for female officers than
for male officers and that married women experience more strain than married men
(Bernard, 1972; Gove & Tudor, 1973; He, Zhao, & Archbold, 2002; Martin, 1980).
Lack of Support
Previous literature also has discussed the necessity of women support
networks for many female officers (Archbold & Schulz, 2008; Parsons & Jesilow,
2001). Female officers often experience feelings of isolation from other officers.
Male officers isolate female colleagues both overtly and covertly by gossiping and

excluding them from coffee breaks and after-work socialization (Wertsch, 1998).
Women officers sometimes feel isolated from one another as well. For example, the
department in Wertschs study had a policy of separating female officers by
spreading them out over different shifts and sectors. An older male officer noted that
the policy left female officers without a support system and that many became
unhappy and resentful. Rabe-Hemp (2007) argued that hegemonic masculinity is
maintained through the individual and collective isolation of female officers.
Support from fellow officers has been noted as particularly important for
female officers because they are still forging new trails into an occupation dominated
by men (He, Zhao & Archbold, 2002). Krimmel and Gormley (2003) discovered
that female officers in departments with less than 15% women officers experience
greater levels of job-related depression, less job satisfaction, and have lower self-
esteem than policewomen in larger departments. This is likely due to the increased
visibility and lack of support provided for officers who represent significant
minorities in their department and thus hold the position of tokens.
The extent to which tokenism exists in policing and the negative effects it has
on female officers is a re-occurring topic in the literature. Regardless of ability,
women officers are forced to deal with the added stress and pressure of being viewed
as tokens (Archbold & Schulz, 2008; Krimmel & Gormley, 2003; Martin, S.E.,

1979; Rabe-Hemp, 2007; Slonaker, Wendt, & Kemper, 2001). Law enforcement is
an excellent example of a skewed group in which there is a preponderance of a
dominant group over a rare, token group. Tokenism exists whenever a minority
group comprises less than 15% of an organizations workforce. Three processes
characterize the relationship between dominants and tokens: visibility, polarization,
and assimilation. Tokens are highly visible among the dominant group because their
presence is rare or unique. This increased visibility leads to increased performance
pressure and stress. Polarization is the effect of exaggerating differences between
dominants and tokens so that the former can define their group boundaries and
distinguish themselves from tokens. Assimilation involves the distortion of token
attributes and qualities so that they fit into pre-existing stereotypes and
generalizations held by the dominant group (Kanter, 1977).
For women police officers, token status involves, for example, working
harder than males to prove themselves, taking male officers calls for service, being
used as window dressings to show a diverse or progressive department, and being
singled out for promotion for statistical purposes rather than for merit (Archbold &
Schulz, 2008). The assimilation and polarization of female officers resigns them to
traditional gendered roles and assignments, such as juvenile units, victims units, and
administrative positions, while restricting their participation in vice narcotics units,

SWAT teams, and similar macho assignments by isolating the few women who
dare enter the male domain.
Policewomen may be accepted as competent and capable officers, but only
when they conform to gendered norms and expectations about what is acceptable for
a female officer and avoid pushing the boundaries (Rabe-Hemp, 2007). Krimmel
and Gormley (2003) discovered that female officers who comprise less than 15% of
their department suffer from increased job-related depression, lower self-esteem, and
decreased job satisfaction than women who work in departments where they
comprise more than 15% of the sworn personnel.

There are differing theories as to why law enforcement has remained opposed
to the complete inclusion of female officers and attached to archaic notions of
hypermasculinity. The first set of arguments focuses on the socio-cultural
environment of the police institution and the second pinpoints the
characteristics of male peer groups. This chapter discusses the socio-cultural
environment of policing and its effects on female officers.

Police work is imbedded in a culture which emphasizes masculinity as a
necessary characteristic of officers and assumes that men are best suited for jobs in
law enforcement. The combination of formal organizational forces and informal
occupational values centered on law, bureaucratic control, machismo, safety,
morality, and competence creates a social world which relishes all things masculine
and purposely avoids any thing feminine (Herbert, 1998; Hunt, 1990). Crime-
fighting and law enforcement exude traditional definitions of masculinity through
which police officers establish and maintain their manhood. Social service and
community policing involve qualities and characteristics of femininity which some
officers perceive as a threat to both their occupation and their masculinity because
traditionally, the two have gone hand in hand (Crank, 1998; Dick & Jankowicz,
2001; Franklin, 2007; Hunt, 1990; Martin, 1980; Paoline, 2004).
Police recruits are expected to conform to the traditional expectations of
manhood through physical conditioning, fighting, use of weaponry, and male
bonding rituals. What it means to be a police officer has been derived from societal
expectations of what it means to do gender as a man: avoidance of femininity,
emotional control, toughness, confidence, aggression, and violence (Crank, 1998;
Hunt, 1990). Policemen tend to de-emphasize the parts of their job which are not
inherently masculine, and consider anything non-masculine to be non-police (Hunt,
1990). In the academy, recruits leam that conformity to traditional notions of

masculinity is a requirement for policing and that women are to be excluded and
denigrated. Male recruits develop a form of hegemonic masculinity by watching and
learning from training instructors and each other (Prokos & Padavic, 2002).
Female-male dichotomies characterize nearly all aspects of policing and the
social world of police officers. Administrative work, routine service calls, and
victims services often are disdained as feminine activities. Making arrests, car
chases, and narcotics investigations, for example, are hailed as worthwhile masculine
crime-fighting activities (Martin, 1999). Female officers as a group are subject to
these organizational contexts as well. Women are associated with domestic life,
purity, and morality. In this light, female officers are sometimes viewed as
untrustworthy and a potential threat to the male social order within police
departments. Male officers fear that their questionable on-the-job exploits, such as
taking bribes, entertaining mistresses, and gambling, will be exposed to their wives,
families, and general public by clean women officers (Hunt, 1990).
Gender and work identities are inseperable. Assumptions about gender are
transferred from workers to their jobs, and at the same time, workers must do gender
in ways that support their work activities and gender identities (Martin, 1999).
Gender is particularly salient in occupations such as policing where there is historical
and traditional dominance of one gender over the other. Female police officers must
navigate the workplace, which is immersed in masculinity, while simultaneously

constructing and maintaining their feminine identity (Martin, 1999; Rabe-Hemp,
2007). However, not all men and women conform to their socially expected gender
roles or allow themselves to succumb to dominant male sexism. As society
progresses, increasing numbers of men and women are actively resisting sex role
stereotypes by developing alternative occupational and gender identities (Hunt,
1990, p. 26). And this is certainly the case for many female police officers who are
entering a male-dominated occupation and determining new ideas about what is
masculine or feminine.
Scholars are now debating the existence of a monolithic, single-minded
police culture in the United States, arguing that the entrance of women and ethnic
minorities and acceptance of community policing have eroded the bonds that once
existed among all-white, all-male police forces (Herbert, 1998; Paoline, 2004).
Paoline (2004) analyzed survey data on attitudinal dimensions of police culture
regarding citizens, supervision, procedural guidelines, role orientation, and policing
tactics. He discovered seven distinct subgroups which exemplified varied manners
in which officers view and manage their occupational world. Only 9% of officers
displayed attitudes which aligned significantly with those of traditional tough-
According to many scholars, America entered into its third stage of law
enforcement evolution in the 1980s, known as the community-oriented era. The

community-oriented era is defined by a focus on order maintenance and service,
rather than the crime control functions of the previous bureaucratic era (Kelling &
Moore, 1988; Trojanowicz & Bucqueroux, 1990). Community policing is
considered by many commentators as a catch-all category that varies among agencies
to include anything from bicycle patrols to weed and seed projects. The primary
philosophical tenets of community policing, also referred to as community-oriented
policing, were arguably first established by Trojanowicz and Bucqueroux, and later
delineated by Cordner (1997):
1. A community-oriented police department is one that values citizen input
and believed policing must be tailored to the needs of the community.
2. COP philosophies must be operationalized through practice and planning.
3. Daily operations must focus on positive citizen interaction, police-
community partnerships, and problem-solving activities.
4. Management must value employee input, encourage mentoring, and
employ systematic evaluations.
The goal of community-oriented policing (COP) to increase positive citizen-
police interaction to solve neighborhood problems is often debated among scholars
and law enforcement. One area of concern is the potential feminization of policing
which COP promotes through its focus on empathy, communication, and social

service. The coinciding rise of community policing and numbers of female officers
in the United States, led many to believe that feminine gendered traits which
previously kept women outside of law enforcement were being embraced by police
departments across the country and that new women officers would be able to re-
define their roles and change the nature of policing from within (Miller, 1999; Rabe-
Hemp, 2007; Scarborough & Collins, 2002). Sims, Scarborough, and Ahmad
(2003) tested the notion that attitudes regarding the acceptance of women in the
workplace would be related to attitudes about community policing. While they
found some support for their theory that positive views of women as police officers
were related to acceptance of community policing, relationships were too weak to
provide direct causation.
Unfortunately, there has been much resistance to community-oriented
policing from line officers (Chappell, 2009; Paoline, 2004). Some of the reasons for
this include lack of training, lack of resources, and a failure to turn department
philosophy into daily organizational practices. Traditional police subculture and its
emphasis on masculinity, crime control, and power is a substantial roadblock to
successful implementation of community policing (Chappell, 2009). Arguably, it is
difficult to change the attitudes of law enforcement-oriented officers simply by
changing the rules and regulations. Empathy for victims, support, and compassion
are all emotional demands which community-policing requires and many male police

officers purposely avoid. Victims are often an emotional burden on police officers
and many officers stress the need for detachment and emotional control, so increased
interaction with the public may not be readily welcomed by the rank and file (Martin,

The topics and issues discussed in the literature review are the basis
for the research hypotheses in this study. The first seven are based on
the literature and relate to the survey statements. The eighth hypothesis
pertains solely to the sex role inventory.
Female officers must work harder on the job to prove themselves.
Female officers have equal promotional and special assignment
Female officers do not differ from male officers in job performance and
individual characteristics.
Female officers have greater family and childcare responsibilities
than male officers.
Female officers benefit from professional support networks.

Female officers are subject to tokenism.
Female officers are physically capable of performing their duties.
Female officers are more likely to assume masculine sex role orientations
than feminine orientations, while male officers are only more likely to rank
higher in masculinity than female officers.
This study utilizes a confidential survey that was distributed to five Colorado
police agencies and to members of a Colorado organization for women in law
enforcement. Data were collected from December 2008 April 2009. The results
reflect self-disclosed attitudes of participating police officers. Administrators at each
department were contacted via email or phone and permission was obtained to
distribute the survey to all sworn officers; surveys were either emailed to, or placed
in the mailboxes of, sworn officers. In attempt to gain equal numbers of male and
female officers, a Colorado organization for women in law enforcement was also
included in the study. For confidentiality purposes, the exact identities of the

participating departments and the law enforcement organization are not disclosed.
Completed surveys were returned to the primary researcher, Laura Valcore, or to the
research advisor, Mary Dodge.
Five medium-large law enforcement agencies provided a sample frame of
1198 sworn officers. The organization for women in law enforcement included a
sample of 160 additional female officers. The size of each department varied from
71 to approximately 625 sworn officers, with an average of 315. The number of
female officers in each department ranged from 14 to 86, with an average of 45
female sworn officers. Respondents from the womens organization estimated the
size of their departments and the number of female officers. They reported an
average of 380 sworn officers and 31 female officers in their current departments. A
total of 397 responses resulted in a response rate of 31.5%.
Survey Instrument
The survey includes 24 items, demographics, and a masculinity/femininity
scale (See Appendix A). The 6-point Likert Scale ranges from 1 = Strongly Agree to
6 = Strongly Disagree. Each Likert scale item is a variable which corresponds with a
research hypothesis. The survey was written and created by Valcore and Dodge and
is not based on or borrowed from any previous studies, but was inspired by an article
which appeared in Police and based on available literature and current knowledge of

women and policing in the United States. The article, Women Warriors, by Basich
(2008) included interviews with female police officers across the country. Some of
the key issues discussed included the need to prove themselves, the importance of
professional appearance, differences between male and female officers, the
challenges of balancing family and career, finding female support networks, coping
with stress, and remaining a woman in a mans occupation.
Bern Sex Role Inventory
The masculinity/femininity scale is the short form of the Bern Sex Role
Inventory (BSRI) and requires the respondent to rank themselves on thirty individual
characteristics using a scale from 1 (never or almost never true) 7 (always or
almost always true). The BSRI measures means of masculinity and femininity and
was the first test to account for androgynous and undifferentiated sex role
orientations (Bern, 1974). In the Bern, masculinity and femininity are not treated as
bipolar opposites, but as separate constructs (Choi, Fuqua, & Newman, 2007).
The short form of the BSRI has been determined to be internally reliable
(Bern, 1974; Loughrey, 2008) and continues to be valid, despite its reliance on
stereotypical, traditional sex characteristics (Campbell, Gillaspy, & Thompson,
1997; Choi, Fuqua, & Newman, 2008). However, some critics argue that the BSRI
fails to capture the true structure and complexity of femininity and masculinity (Choi
& Fuqua, 2003).

The BSRI has been used in other studies of gendered professions, such as
music education, home economics, and nursing (e.g., Moe, Mullis, Dosser, & Mullis,
1991; Wubbenhorst, 1994). For example, a study of male nurses utilized the BSRI to
determine if they related more to the female sex role or occupied the female gender
role because of their chosen profession (Loughrey, 2008).
Twenty-two surveys were unusable for analysis because the gender of the
respondent was not reported, resulting in a final sample size of n = 375. Two of the
survey items were eliminated from analysis due to vague language: Female officers
use their feminine qualities to their advantage and Female officers view their job
differently than male officers.
For the sake of simplicity in analysis, Likert scale responses were condensed
into dichotomous responses: Agree (coded as 1) and Disagree (coded as 0). All
responses marked as Strongly Agree, Agree, and Somewhat Agree were
combined into a single nominal category- Agree. All responses marked as
Somewhat Disagree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree were combined into a
single nominal category- Disagree.
Respondents attitudes pertaining to women in policing were summarized in
seven composite indexes, one for each hypothesis. Individual scores on the indexes
vary from 0-5, depending on the number of items asked on the questionnaire for each

hypothesis. In order to have consistent scores and means for comparison, the values
for each gender on each index were added together and divided by the number of
variables in the index. This provided a mean which ranged from 0-1 for both
genders on every index. A score of 0 on an index indicates disagreement with or
lack of support for the research hypothesis and a score of 1 indicates complete
agreement with or support for the hypothesis. Respondents with scores in the middle
of the spectrum (e.g., 0.25, 0.50, and 0.75) have provided conditional support for a
given hypothesis. T-tests determined the presence of a statistically discernible
difference between genders.
The mean masculine and mean feminine scores for each respondent were
calculated. The possible range for mean scores is from 1-7. The closer a mean is to
7, the higher a respondents identification with the sex role. Mean scores for the
entire sample were calculated and compared by gender. T-tests determined whether
or not differences between genders were significant.

A non-random convenience sample of male and female officers was collected
over a period of several months; 153 female officers and 222 male officers
responded, plus 22 others who did not reveal their gender. The years of experience
in law enforcement varied from as little as one year to as many as 36 years, with an
average of 13.37 years experience among all respondents. The average age of
respondents was 39.76 years. Most respondents were Caucasian (91.4%), married
(64.2%), have children (65.5%), and have earned a college degree (66.8%).
Differences between male and female officers were expected and coincide
with what the literature suggests. For example, female officers in the sample report
much higher percentages of single or divorced marital status than males. Male
officers in the sample are more likely to be married and have children than female
officers. This supports McGrath (2007) whose sample of female officers were five
times more likely to be single, twice as likely to be divorced, and half as likely to be
married when compared to their male colleagues. There were no substantial
differences in education or experience between genders, yet male respondents were
more likely to hold ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and division commander or chief.
Exactly 63.7% of both male and female officers held the rank of patrol officer,

deputy, or trooper. Female officers in the sample more commonly held the title of
detective or investigator than male officers (See Table 1).
Table 1: Demographics (N= 375)
Female n = 153, Male n = 222)
Ethnicity Female Male
Caucasian ] 86.3% 95.0%
African American 2.0% 0.5%
Hispanic \ 6.5% 2.7%
Asian ! 1.3% 0.5%
Native American 3.3% 0.0%
Other 0.7% 1.4%
High School 1 29.1% 21.2%
College 61.6% 70.5%
Masters 1 7.9% 8.3%
PhD j 1.3% 0.0%
Marital Status
Single 26.8% 9.6%
Married 43.8% 78.5%
Divorced j 18.3% 8.2%
Seperated 1 0.7% 1.8%
Living w/domestic partner 10.5% 1.8%
Children \
Yes | 56.6% 71.7%
No 43.3% 28.3%
Office r/deputy/trooper 63.7% 63.7%
Sergeant ! 12.3% 20.5%
Lieutenant 1.4% 5.6%
Captain 0.7% 0.5%
Detective/lnvestigator 17.8% 7.0%
Deputy chief 5 0.7% 0.0%
Division commander/chief 0.7% 2.8%

Survey Responses
Frequencies of survey responses were compared by gender (See Table 2).
The composite indexes were analyzed to compare support for each hypothesis and
determine statistically significant differences between genders (See Table 4).
Bivariate Analysis
There are clear differences between gender responses for nearly all of the
survey statements. Overall, female officers feel they are not equals in the policing
world, they must work harder than male officers, have increased pressures and
burdens placed on them as females, and are less likely to be promoted or to work in
narcotics or homicide investigation. At the same time, female officers recognize that
they bring unique skills to law enforcement and often differ from male officers in
their approach to the job. Male officers are more likely to believe that female
officers are physically unfit for police work and fail to recognize the added burdens
and pressures female officers face. However, male officers contend that promotional
opportunities are not tied to gender and disagree that female officers have fewer
career opportunities. Interestingly, both male and female officers agree that
professional support organizations benefit women officers and disagree that using
female officers as decoy prostitutes is degrading.

Table 2: Frequencies (N = 375)
Survey Statement Agree Disagree
Male Female Male Female
Male and female officers have equal opportunities for promotion 91.9% 73.7% 8.1% 26.3%
Female officers feel a higher sense of responsibility as reps 52.6% 92.8% 47.4% 7.2%
Female officers have better communication skills than males 28% 87.6% 72% 12.4%
Female officers are just as likely as males to work in narcotics 62.6% 57.2% 37.4% 42.8%
Female officers often decide not to test for promotion due to 19.1% 55% 80.9% 45%
Female officers must repeatedly prove themselves, regardless 24.9% 86.3% 75.1% 13.7%
Female officers are more likely to rely on communication skills 93.5% 56.4% 43.6% 6.5%
Female officers are expected to work twice as hard as males 3.2% 51.3% 96.8% 48.7%
Female officers are just as likely to be assigned to homicide 91.8% 71.5% 8.2% 28.5%
Professional orgs for women officers provide positive support 87.6% 87.8% 12.4% 12.2%
Family responsibilities place a greater burden on female officers 32.9% 88.8% 67.1% 11.2%
Male and female officers employ the use of force at same rates 43.6% 30% 56.4% 70%
Female officers are likely to take on masculine qualities 40.8% 47.1% 59.2% 52.9%
Female officers possess the physical prowess needed for the job 69.7% 86.2% 30.3% 13.8%
Female officers bring unique skills to law enforcement 82.4% 98.7% 17.6% 1.3%
Using female officers as decoy prostitutes is degrading 5.5% 12.5% 94.5% 87.5%
Female officers are at greater risk for harm or injury than males 33.9% 23.7% 66.1% 76.3%
Female officers are subject to sexual harassment by male officers 38.5% 58.8% 61.5% 41.2%
Female officers receive fewer opportunities for special assignments 5.4% 50.3% 94.6% 49.7%
Physical agility requirements should be the same for both genders 80.5% 70.6% 19.5% 29.4%
Female-only mentoring networks are the most effective 20.7% 44.4% 79.3% 55.6%
Female officers are often stereotyped as being lesbian 45.5% 72.5% 54.5% 27.5%

Index Analysis
Results of index analysis are separated by hypothesis. For a breakdown of
which survey statements correspond to each hypothesis, refer to Table 3. Each index
has a possible mean score between 0-1. The closer the score is to 0, the less support
there is for the hypothesis. The closer the score is to 1, the greater support there is
for the hypothesis. Means, mean differences, and standard deviation are reported in
Table 4.
Female officers must work harder on the job to prove themselves.
Distinct differences were found between genders for this index. Fifty percent
of female respondents received a mean score of 1, t (152) = 24.277,/? = .000,
compared to only 3.2% of male respondents. Forty-four percent of male respondents
received a mean score of 0, t (220) = 8.086,p = .000, compared to only 5.1% of
female respondents. Female officers are significantly more likely than male officers
to think that female officers must work harder on the job to prove themselves.
Female officers have equal promotional and special assignments opportunities.
The majority of male officers (56.5%) received a mean score of 1 on this
index, t (216) = 64.408,/? = .000. Female officers held mixed views regarding the
statements on this index. The largest group (31.5%) of female officers received a

mean score of 0.75, while another 26.2% scored 1, t (149) = 24.231, p =.000. Male
officers are significantly more likely than female officers to believe that female
officers have equal promotional and special assignment opportunities.
Female officers do not differ from male officers in job performance and individual
Of the four statements that comprise this index, three were written so that a
response of disagree actually indicates agreement with the hypothesis. For those
statements agree was re-coded as 0, and disagree was recoded as 1, so that
responses of disagree would be counted along with agree responses from the
fourth statement. A strong majority of female respondents (59.7%) received a mean
score of 0 on this index, t (149) = 8.619,/? =.000, compared to 16.7% of male
respondents, t (206) = 21.589,p = .000. No female respondent scored 1, while 6.8%
of male respondents did. Female officers are significantly less likely than male
officers to believe that female officers do not differ from male officers in job
performance and individual characteristics.

Female officers have greater family and childcare responsibilities than male officers.
Most female respondents (53.3%) received a mean score of 1 on this index, t
(150) = 26.710,/? = .000, compared to a strong majority of male respondents
(61%) who received a mean score of 0, t (205) = 10.410,/? = .000. There are
clear differences of opinion on this index based on gender. Female officers
are significantly more likely than male officers to contend that they have
greater family and childcare responsibilities than male officers.

Table 3:Indexes
1. Female officers must work harder on the job to prove themselves.________________________
Female officers must repeatedly "prove themselves, regardless of rank.________________________
Female officers are expected to work twice as hard as male officers.___________________________
2. Female officers have equal promotional and special assignment opportunities.___________
Male and female officers have equal opportunities for promotion._______________________________
Female officers are just as likely as males to work in narcotics units.________________________
Female officers are just as likely as males to be assigned to homicide investigation units.____
Female officers receive fewer opportunities for choice special assignments.____________________
3. Female officers do not differ from male officers in job performance and individual
Female officers have better communication skills compared to male officers.____________________
Female officers are more likely than male officers to rely on communication skills to de-
escalate situations.___________________________________________________________________________
Male and female officers employ the use of force at the same rates.____________________________
Female officers bring unique skills to law enforcement.________________________________________
4. Female officers have greater family and childcare responsibilities than male officers.
Female officers often decide not to test for promotion due to childcare responsibilities.______
Family responsibilities place a greater burden on female officers._____________________________
5. Female officers benefit from professional support networks.___________________________
Professional police organizations for women officers provide positive support._________________
Female-only mentoring networks are the most effective._________________________________________
6. Female officers are subject to tokenism._______________________________________________
Female officers feel a higher sense of responsibility as representatives of all women in the field.
Female officers are likely to take on masculine qualities._____________________________________
Female officers are subject to sexual harassment by male officers._____________________________
Female officers are often stereotyped as being lesbian.________________________________________
Using female officers as decoy prostitutes in degrading._______________________________________
7. Female officers are physically capable of performing their duties._____________________
Female officers possess the physical prowess needed for the job._______________________________
Female officers are at a greater risk for harm or injury than male officers.___________________

Female officers benefit from professional support networks.
Mean scores on this index indicate a lack of strong opinions by either gender.
The majority of male respondents (68.8%) received a mean score of 0.5, t (176) =
26.346, p = .000. Similarly, nearly half of female respondents (47.9%) received a
mean score of 0.5, t (140) = 24.632,p = .000. However, female officers are
significantly more likely to agree that female officers benefit from professional
support networks. Forty-three percent of female respondents scored a 1 on this index
compared to 20.5% of male respondents.
Female officers are subject to tokenism.
Results on this index are interesting. No female respondent received a mean
score of 0 and no male respondent received a mean score of 1. Sixty-six percent of
male respondents scored below 0.5, t (207) = 21.818, p = .000. In stark contrast,
57.2% of female respondents scored above 0.5, t (207) = 31.777,/? = .000. Female
officers are significantly more likely than male officers to believe that female
officers are subject to tokenism.
Female officers are physically capable of performing their duties.
Responses to statements on this index were largely similar between genders.
Forty-five percent of both male and female respondents received a mean score of 1.

Female respondents were much more likely to have a mean score of 0.666, however,
t (151) = 41.528, p = .000. Only 27% of male respondents scored 0.666, t (219) =
36.918, p = .000. Female officers are significantly more likely to agree that female
officers are physically capable of performing their duties.
Table 4: Index Analyses
Index Hypothesis Means Mean Difference Standard Deviation
Male Female Male Female
Female officers must work harder on the job to prove themselves. .141 .688 .547* .259 .349
Female officers have equal promotional and special assignment opportunities. .853 .631 .222* .195 .318
Female officers do not differ from male officers in job performance and individual characteristics. .441 .128 .263* .293 .181
Female officers have greater family and childcare responsibilities than male officers. .263 .720 .457* .362 .330
Female officers benefit from professional support networks. .548 .668 .120* .276 .321
Female officers are subject to tokenism. .369 .565 .196* .243 .215
Female officers are physically capable of performing their duties. .720 .779 .059* .289 .231
*p = .000

Masculinity and femininity means were calculated for each respondent who
completed the BSRI. A total of 152 female officers and 221 male officers completed
the BSRI portion of the questionnaire. The masculinity mean for the entire sample, x
= 5.55, was higher than the femininity mean for the entire sample, x = 5.07. Female
officers had a higher femininity mean, x = 5.29, than male officers, x = 4.91. This
difference was significant at thep = .000 level. However, what is certainly notable is
that female officers also had a higher masculinity mean, x =5.61, than male officers,
x = 5.52. The difference was not statistically significant, though, p = .178.

The results of this study appear to show that female officers are still being
stereotyped, treated as tokens, and subjected to unique circumstances as
policewomen that their male counterparts fail to fully recognize. Male and female
officers held significantly differing opinions regarding promotional opportunities for
female officers, family and childcare responsibilities, characteristics and
performance of female officers, the existence of tokenism, and the need for female
officers to work harder than male officers. However, the findings give some
indication that female officers today are not facing the extreme discrimination and
lack of respect from male officers that they have in the past.
The majority of male officers do not believe that female officers must work
any harder than they do to prove themselves as qualified officers. A large portion of
female officers, however, still feel they are either being held at different standards
than male officers, or are being required to do more to earn the respect and
acceptance of their colleagues. The beliefs exhibited by female officers in this study
mirror those of previous studies which have also found that female officers are still
fighting for acceptance and knocking down barriers in a stereotypical masculine
occupation (Parsons & Jesilow, 2001; Rabe-Hemp, 2007; Wertsch, 1998).
Male officers, on the whole, view females as having equal opportunities for
promotion and career choices as they do. This coincides with previous studies which

have found that police officers follow the same paths to promotion, regardless of
gender (McGrath, 2007). Female officers still have mixed feelings on this issue,
though. Previous studies have noted that female officers still feel that seeking
promotion is not worth it because of the potential for isolation, the challenge of
fighting the system, and the weight of family and childcare duties. Perhaps male
officers fail to recognize the potential for isolation that occurs when a female officer
seeks promotion or takes male gendered assignments (Archbold & Schulz, 2008;
Rabe-Hemp, 2007; Whetstone & Wilson, 1998).
Female officers fail to see any significant differences between the way they
perform their job and the skills or performance of male officers. Male officers,
however, disagree with the notion that there are no differences in the characteristics
and skills of male and female officers. This result could be due to lingering
stereotypes that women are more empathetic and better communicators than men, or
it could be that male officers feel a need to distinguish themselves from the token
minority group (Kanter, 1977). As previously discussed, police work is attached to
notions of manhood for many male officers, so they may feel a need to separate
themselves from female officers as a means of securing their masculinity (Hunt,
1990; Paoline, 2004).
Traditionally, familial and domestic duties have fallen to women. Female
officers still believe that they are disproportionately burdened with childcare and

related responsibilities. Male officers fail to recognize this disparity. Males may
feel that the pressures on them as husbands and fathers are just as significant as those
shouldered by wives and mothers. Previous studies have noted that marriage and
family can decrease stress for men, but typically increases stress for women (Gove &
Tudor, 1973; He, Zhao, & Archbold, 2002; Kurtz, 2008), so perhaps male officers
simply fail to understand this variation. The fact that male officers in this study
overwhelmingly failed to associate domestic duties with female officers, is perhaps a
sign that traditional expectations of womanhood and femininity are eroding. In that
light, male officers may not be insensitive to the issues, but may simply no longer
see family responsibilities as female. Qualitative research could address these
issues more thoroughly in the future.
Several commentators have discussed the need for support networks and
mentoring for female officers (Basich, 2008; He, Zhao, & Archbold, 2002) and both
male and female officers in this study agree that the potential benefits are great. This
finding contradicts a recent study by McGrath (2007) which discovered that
mentoring was not viewed as essential or important to female officers.
Tokenism is a complex issue that, arguably, will continue to exist in any
organization in which there is a minority group struggling for acceptance and
respect. Male officers in this study failed to acknowledge that tokenism affects their
female counterparts while women officers noted their belief that the negative effects

of tokenism still impact them in the workplace. This phenomenon coincides with
other recent studies concerning tokenism in law enforcement (Archbold & Schulz,
2008; Krimmel & Gormley, 2003; Rabe-Hemp, 2007). Male officers may simply be
trying too hard to be accepting and progressive in their views of female officers to
the point that they are ignoring or overlooking the disparities which still exist, but
much more in-depth research would be required to examine this theory. Clearly,
necessity of qualifying police officers as male or female is evidence that tokenism
still exists in law enforcement. Female officers are still the minority in the vast
majority of departments across the United States, resulting in their continued
visibility, polarization, and assimilation. However, it is difficult to determine
whether or not the low numbers of women in law enforcement is a reflection of
continued male domination, or that simply there are too few women interested in
working in law enforcement.
Both genders agree that female officers are physically capable of performing
their duties and are no more likely to be injured than male officers. Historically,
some of the most vocal arguments against women in law enforcement were based on
assumptions that women were innately incapable of performing many of the tasks
required of a patrol officer because they were physically weaker and would be
unable to chase down a fleeing suspect, control a combative suspect, or arrest a man
who was stronger and could physically overpower them (Parsons & Jesilow, 2001).

Male officers in this study recognize that physical strength is not necessarily a
requirement of police work and that women are just as capable as they are. The
majority of both genders of officers in this study agreed that male and female
officers should be subject to the same physical agility testing requirements. This is
interesting to note because there are ongoing arguments that biased or un-validated
physical tests are in use in departments across the country which are excluding
disproportionate numbers of women from police work (Birzer & Craig, 1996;
Gaines, Falkenburg, & Gambino, 1993; Lonsway, 2003).
Results of the Bern Sex Role Inventory indicate that female officers relate
strongly to both masculine and feminine sex roles. The BSRI relies on stereotypical
characteristics of masculinity and femininity, but similar reliance on traditional
gender stereotypes has defined policing and the role of female officers in this country
for decades. Female officers scored higher in both femininity and masculinity than
male officers. Interestingly, female officers relate strongly to the masculine sex role,
and this finding may be interpreted in several ways. First, policing may simply
attract women whose personality and character traits are stereotypically masculine.
Just as nursing can attract men who relate more strongly to stereotypical feminine
traits, such as caring and loving children (Loughrey, 2008). Second, because of the
traditional masculine nature and environment of law enforcement, female officers

may purposely conform or alter their habits and demeanors to suit the demands of
police work and to gain the acceptance of male peers.
It is argued that community policing and the emphasis on communication,
empathy, and problem solving that is required, would feminize policing and
provide female officers a niche in an otherwise unwelcoming occupation. Rabe-
Hemp (2008) described female officers who were comfortable in community
policing roles and believed that they were naturally better at such assignments than
male officers. However, the results of this study indicate that female officers believe
themselves to be strongly aligned with the masculine sex role, which points to
assimilation in an occupation which has continued to emphasize strength, power,
control, and masculinity, rather than the more feminine aspects of community
Policy Implications
There are several implications which can be drawn from this study. First,
female officers still feel that they are unequally burdened by family and childcare
responsibilities. Departments should consider implementing more progressive or
helpful policies regarding pregnancy leave, day care, and similar issues to help ease
the stress of female officers and allow them to pursue promotion and special
assignments more often than they are currently. Second, male officers appear to be
unaware of the added pressures and stress which their female counterparts are facing.

Perhaps sensitivity training would open their eyes a bit and encourage them to be
more supportive of female officers. The results of this study also indicate that
female officers benefit from support networks and mentoring programs, so
departments without these should consider implementing them. Mentoring and
support networks could certainly help keep more female officers on the job and
reduce the number of women officers who leave police work because of stress,
family, or unhappiness with their department. Increased training on the benefits and
implementation of community policing would benefit not just female officers, but
entire departments and communities as well. Male officers need to understand that
community policing is not a threat to law enforcement as a respected occupation and
female officers must know that the skills and qualities they bring to policing are both
wanted and needed.
Results of the BSRI indicate that female officers align strongly with both
feminine and masculine sex roles. Departments can use this knowledge in
recruitment by showing potential recruits that policing requires not only control,
leadership, and power, but also empathy, caring, and communication. Since female
officers relate strongly to masculine characteristics, academy training and
department administrators should not downplay the potential for female officers to
take on traditional masculine assignments and roles, but should encourage female
officers to pursue any assignment or rank they desire and should focus on

pinpointing the strengths of each female recruit, rather than trying to comer them
into gendered roles.
This study has several limitations which must be taken into account. First,
the topic at hand is one which respondents may hold very strong opinions about and
may have used the questionnaire as a platform to voice strong feelings, potentially
skewing results. The use of a self-reporting questionnaire means the responses may
reflect the bias of those who chose to participate. Some of the questions and
statements may not have been worded clearly enough or may have appear biased to
the respondent, lending to altered results. Additionally, male officers may have felt
unqualified to speak for their female peers or may have been unsure about many of
the survey items, simply because they were male and had not experienced policing
from the point of view of a female officer.
Future Research
Now that women appear to be considered equals in law enforcement, future
studies must address and pinpoint the exact issues which are impeding recruitment
and are preventing them from making larger strides and improvements in their
positions. Until women officers can exceed at least 15% of local and state policing,
they will still be subject to tokenism, so future research should also focus on how to
break that barrier and lessen its negative consequences. Qualitative research would

be able to go much deeper into solving many of the questions and theories posed by
the results of this study by giving voices and stories to the numbers.

Law Enforcement Survey: Women in Policing
This survey is interested in your perspectives on the changing attitudes and perceptions regarding
women in law enforcement. Your answers and comments are confidential. If for any reason you
have questions, please contact Mary Dodge, Ph.D at (303) 315-2086. Thank you for your
cooperation and support.
Based on vour experience and opinion, please check your level of agreement with each of the
following statements:
Suongiy Agree Semewhet Agree Semewftet Oisagree Ouegre Swoogty j Duagree j
Male and female officers have equal opportunities for promotion. n n XL n n 1
Female officers feel a higher sense of responsibility as representatives of all women in the field. P n n 1
Female officers have better communication skills compared to male officers. n
Female officers are just as likely as males to work in narcotics units. n n XL
Female officers use their feminine qualities to their advantage. n n
Female officers often decide not to test for promotion due to childcare responsibilities. n n
Female officers must repeatedly prove themselves, regardless of rank. n n P n n
Female officers are more likely than male officers to rely on communication skills to de-escalate situations. n n n n n n
Female officers are expected to work twice as hard as male officers. .EL n XL n n XL
n r

Female officers are just as likely as males to be assigned to homicide investigation units.
Professional police organizations for women officers provide positive support. n n n n n n
Family responsibilities place a greater burden on female officers. n n n n n
Male and female officers employ the use of force at the same rates. n Q n n n
Female officers view their job differently than male officers. n 1 n n n
Female officers are likely to take on masculine qualities. n n n
Female officers possess the physical prowess needed for the job. Q n n
Female officers bring unique skills to law enforcement. n n n | n
Using female officers as decoy prostitutes is degrading. n n n n
Female officers are at a greater risk for harm or injury than male officers. n n n n
Female officers are subject to sexual harassment by male officers. n n n
Female officers receive fewer opportunities for choice special assignments. n n Q n n
Physical agility testing requirements should be the same for male and female officers. n n n n
Female-only mentoring networks are the most effective. n n n
Female officers are often stereotyped as being lesbian. n r n n
Please turn over and complete items on the other side.

We would like you to use these characteristics to describe yourself, that is, we would like
you to indicate, on a scale from 1 to 7, how true of you each of these characteristics is.
Please do not leave any characteristic unmarked.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Never or almost never true Usually not true Sometimes but infrequently true Occasionally true Sometimes true Often true Always or almost always true
1. Defend my own beliefs 16. Have leadership abilities
2. Affectionate 17. Eager to soothe hurt feelings
3. Conscientious 18. Secretive
4. Independent 19. Willing to take risks
5. Sympathetic 20. Warm
6. Moody 21. Adaptable
7. Assertive 22. Dominant
8. Sensitive to needs of others 23.Tender
9. Reliable 24. Conceited
10. Strong personality 25. Willing to take a stand
11. Understanding 26. Love children
12. Jealous 27. Tactful
13. Forceful 28. Aggressive
14. Compassionate 29. Gentle
15. Truthful 30. Conventional

For statistical purposes only, please indicate the following:
Type of agency: Police Sheriff State Patrol Federal Other
Years of experience in law enforcement:___________________
Age: __________
Gender: Male Female
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian African American Hispanic
Asian Native American Other (please specify)______________________
Highest level of education achieved: High School College Degree
Masters Degree PhD
Marital status: Single Married Divorced Separated
Living with domestic partner
Do you have any children? Yes No If yes, how many:__________________
Size of department you currently work for:_____________
Approximate number of sworn female officers in your current department:____

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