Women in Law Enforcement
The main objective of Police Services is to prevent the unwanted conditions offensively created by an individual or mob that are hazardous to the citizens of a country. These people who are involved in criminal activities are known as criminals and the activity that is done intentionally to harm people or their property is a crime.
The preventive measures are taken by law enforcement departments to ensure the condition of peace in the society (Feeley and Sarat, 1981). Nowadays the terrorism and crime activities are at its peak and the media is playing a major role in spreading fear about the criminal activities. People assume that only the law enforcement departments are the culprit but sometimes the people who are spreading rumors are actively involved are the major cause of spreading terror. This is not only the duty of law enforcement agencies to ensure peace in the society but also the duty of citizens of that society.
In present critical system, the role of law enforcement officials has changed completely. I think to this time that is well ahead, numerous other things need alteration in the selection process than sticking to the notion that a college degree is required for law enforcement officials. Hence with the passage of time it has become increasingly important that law enforcement agencies cannot only restrict their force to males only but have to extend the participation of females also in order to facilitate greater equality as far as law enforcement cases and the increasing variation in it is concerned. (Heindensohn, 1996)
Since the 1960s women have decided to explore different sectors and vocations in which they have proved their dexterity and professionalism in every way possible. Similarly heavy influx of females has also been witnessed in law enforcement agencies which have surged from 2% in the early 1970s to above 12% in 2004. The first entry of women in law enforcement agencies was witnessed in the year 1845 when they were known as matrons. Then after more than a century in 1985 Penny Harrington of the Portland Oregon Police Department became the first female Chief of Police of New York City. Even till 2004 when the percentage of women hired in law enforcement agencies was around 12.4% there were still a number of problems that were being encountered by women engaged in this vocation. Since then the percentage of women in law enforcement agencies has been experiencing a constant decline. There are many reasons which have collectively contributed to the tanking of the percentage of women that were earlier able to make their place in this profession. (Felperin, 2004)
Research has proved that even though women can be just as effective as men but they have usually been marginalized and deprived of their right from finding their place in law enforcement institutions primarily because of nepotistic hiring practices which are later coupled with different benchmarks of selection and recruitment concerning women.
Most women on the other hand have not been able to pursue their career in this profession because of their lack of proper understanding towards the different features regarding the nature of job that a law enforcement officer is involved in. Such women even when hired in the service had to face gender discrimination, sexual harassment and even suffer from other associated menaces and plagues like peer intimidation. It is because of these reasons that they face a lot of difficulty in pursuing their career in this profession and if despite of all these prevalent conditions they do continue this profession most of them are not expected to experience a promotion in their work.
Along with this many such women because of their domestic and family complications never take promotional exams as for them their foremost priority and utmost priority still lies with their family members, husband and the upbringing of their children. It is because of all these cumulative factors that recruitment of women in such agencies and institutions is constantly experiencing a decline even in times when they are urgently required by all law enforcing organizations.
Women are also abstained from recruitment because of the fact that they rely more on communication skills rather than engaging in physical confrontation for which men are more suitable and trained for. Even though the loopholes are many but all of this contributes to the fact that the need for hiring women staff has become mandatory, but on the other hand it also highlights the anomalies that are present within the criminal justice system and the entrenched discrimination and gender segregation that is observed within the entire institution. (Police Employment, 2010)