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Challenges Women Face When Working In Law Enforcement

Challenges Women Face When Working In Law Enforcement

Notably, law enforcement is a male-dominated labor force; in 2013 women accounted for approximately 12% of all federal officers in the United States (Tucker, 2018). In this male-oriented workforce, women face various workplace issues, including gender occupational challenges and work-life balance challenges. Gender occupational barriers conform in various ways, such as sexual harassment, undesirable attitudes from male counterparts, negative workplace culture, a shortage of high-ranked feminine mentors or role models, and a glass ceiling to promotions. Following the masculine nature of this workforce, most females are sexually harassed or discriminated against in terms of promotions or opportunities like training opportunities. In addition, women face negative attitudes from the male officers, making most women feel unwelcome and uncomfortable, leading to poor performances.

According to Yu (2014), female role models or mentors with high ranks are very few in the law enforcement labour force. Generally, the low levels of females in federal law enforcement are likely to result in low numbers of females in the workforce. In addition to negative attitudes from male counterparts and sexual discrimination, women face a glass ceiling for promotions. A study conducted by Yu (2014) revealed that 19.4% of female participants faced a glass ceiling to promotions, and 47.9% were unsure of the promotional opportunities at their agency.

Further, work-life organizational challenges include the lack of friendly friendly policies. In Yu’s (2014) research study, 34% of the women indicated that their agency lacked family-friendly care policies, while 31.7% indicated they received insufficient support with family obligations and would leave the agency. Although laws like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) discourage discrimination against staff due to pregnancies or related issues, they do not provide accommodations for pregnant women whose work capabilities may be altered. Similarly, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives pregnant officers the right to take a leave without losing their job. Nonetheless, with this act, employers are not required to provide accommodation for pregnant women; rather, it only allows them time to attend medical appointments and provides limited leaves (up to 12 weeks) that may be paid or unpaid (Yu, 2014).


Tucker, M. (2018). Women in Law Enforcement: Ethical Issues Facing Female Officers.

Yu, H. (2014). An Examination of Women in Federal Law Enforcement. Feminist Criminology10(3), 259-278.


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Challenges Women Face

Challenges Women Face

Examine the workplace issues women face when working in law enforcement.

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