Samples Gender Roles Gender Bias and Discrimination in Policing

Gender Bias and Discrimination in Policing

608 words 3 page(s)

Gender bias involves discriminatory practice in behaviors. While many forms of discrimination are illegal, there are other forms of systemic discrimination that exist, but do not necessarily constitute unlawful behaviors. This is because gender bias can include attitudes that influence one’s actions subconsciously. In law enforcement, gender bias continues to exist, and many women in law enforcement are subjected to bias, discrimination, and various forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, on a regular basis.

According to Dawson’s theories on bias and discrimination (2018), there are three definable types of discrimination, of which gender discrimination would be applicable. The first of these is intentional and explicit discrimination. This form of discrimination is overt and consciously known to the individual, and would include forms of discrimination that are largely considered illegal. For instance, refusing to conduct a hire based on gender alone would be both discriminatory and illegal. The second type of discrimination is unconscious or automatic discrimination, which can involved preconceived ideas regarding gender that lead to discriminatory actions: for instance, an ingrained belief that women are physically unable to perform required duties associated with law enforcement might result in a discriminatory policy against hiring women, although this would not be official policy. A third type of discrimination involves statistical discrimination or profiling; for instance, conducting recruitment operations targeted only toward women would be an example of this type (Dawson, 2018).

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This issue affects the criminal justice system because it undermines the values of equality associated with law enforcement, which is particularly egregious because the criminal justice system is designed to protect one’s rights more than any other system or institution. The issue affects the general public because it can discourage women from entering law enforcement or the criminal justice system, meaning they will be underrepresented during patrols and responding to emergencies (Grant, 2012). Many female victims of assault prefer having another woman present during the initial response (Ioimo et al., 2017); if women are discouraged from justice system positions due to discrimination, they will not be able to respond to these calls.

The key stakeholders in this issue would be current law enforcement officials, city officials, and the society these officials serve. Discriminatory practices, if exposed, can undermine faith in the justice system, which can result in strained relations between law enforcement and the community. City officials are often tasked with funding and initiating policies for law enforcement, so they would also be incentivized to minimize discriminatory practices. Ultimately, however, having less women in the justice system due to discrimination will mean the community that relies upon these officers will suffer the most.

Strategies that are currently in place are diversity and inclusivity training programs that are present in many departments to provide anti-discrimination training. Unfortunately, many of these programs tend to be reactive, rather than proactive, as they are usually implemented only when a perceived problem has already been observed (Cuadado, 2015). The effectiveness of this strategy is that it increases awareness and vigilance on the issue, and it also implies a no-tolerance policy as an official policy in many of the departments where they are implemented.

The specific branch of the criminal justice department affected, law enforcement, should seek to implement anti-discrimination training of all sorts, including gender discrimination. Having greater gender equality at this branch will ensure that cases involving the judicial branch will be informed by a non-discriminatory department. Less discrimination means greater representation and equality, and these are the values the justice system should seek to uphold. Although it is unfortunate that gender bias continues to exist, increasing awareness and adopting no-tolerance policies can be a way for various departments to combat this issue in the long term.

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