Rabe-Hemp, Cara. “Survival in an ‘All Boys Club’: Policewomen and Their Fight for
Acceptance.” Policing 31.2 (2008): 251-270. ProQuest. Web. 30 June 2014.
This article reports the results of the qualitative research into American policewomen’s experiences. While the career of a police officer has been subject to gender bias for a long time, today female police officers are gaining greater acceptance in their work. This study aimed at investigating what impediments are faced by policewomen in their police work, how female police officers overcome these obstacles, as well as how they have achieved success and full integration into what has been a traditionally male career.
The sample included 24 female police officers from a Midwestern state, with experience in the police ranging from ten to thirty years of service. In-depth interviews were conducted to collect data based on the research aims. Ethical approval was provided by the university review board and consent was obtained from the participants before interviews. The following findings were generated: although all interviewees reported negative experience in the past related to their gender (e.g. disrespect, sexual harassment, etc), all of them managed to achieve acceptance in the agencies where they worked.
The achieved acceptance was a result of constant proofs of themselves in risky situations, negotiation, and overcoming lots of stress/gender bias attitude rather than a one-day accomplishment. To achieve their set goals, women varied in the roles they decided to perform: some preferred doing the so-called “women’s work” at the expense of promotions whereas others defied the system and fought to achieve high ranks. The article exposes the problems faced by policewomen in a masculine working environment while it also underlines positive tendencies of female involvement in this career field. Through disclosing the challenges faced by female police officers, this study claims to be helpful in creating a potential for a better working environment for female officers in agencies.