Jan 25, 2018 in Research

Gender Differences in Police Force in the USA

Statement of the Problem

There are dissimilarities among males and females, but not nearly to the level implied in sex role theory; characteristics, which may be noticed in any gender, have become gendered, and a simple fact that a person is male or female will make others suppose that he or she manifests what are presupposed to have gender-appropriate characteristics. In police force, this results in the notion that ladies police officers are supposed to be more compassionate and communicative compared to men,–leading to a type of confirmation prejudice; in order for these stereotypes to be conquer it would be required for the department to reconsider how it assigns police officers of both genders.

Literature Review

Ladies who enter policing cannot usually engage in what is called a traditionally feminine behavior. Due to the various manners in which females and males are raised it is asserted that ladies are capable to draw upon a far greater line of policing styles than males (Grant, 2000). It is thought that ladies largely work in a considerably various manners than males and rely more on interpersonal communication than mere power. This concentration on interpersonal communication remains with ladies during the levels of promotion, resulting in a leadership style, which promotes participation as well as communication. Whilst females countrywide are underrepresented in administrative places in the police, it is presupposed that increase of ladies in management will permit the substantial organizational alteration (Garcia, 2003).

A huge amount of researches on females in police force has looked at their capability to carry out duties, which are considered to be treated as the most masculine parts of the sphere; that is, lots of researches, therefore, have checked whether females would demonstrate physical aggression or power when it is needed (Dantzker & Kubin, 1998). There is the notion that women officers would be uncertain to demonstrate force for fear of wound to themselves or other people; really, many men police officers think that female partners cannot efficiently support them under hazardous circumstances due to the relative lack of physical strength (Rabe-Hemp, 2008). That is why, occupationally, ladies are more frequently charged with the managing domestic- and child-related cases, or employed as community officers than the men partners (Burke & Mikkelsen, 2005). Looking back at a historical place of females in the law enforcement, it should come as no surprise; yet ladies have been discovered to be as skilled as males in handling aggressive human beings and may, actually, be better at calming nervous ones (Grant, 2000).

Generally speaking, whilst there are lots of dissimilarities between males and females on patrol, none lend support to the notion that women police officers are essentially more compassionate than males. In spite of the gendered insight that ladies would be better suitable to such work, there seems to be no ground to think that ladies should be more regularly tasked with managing domestic- or child- related cases (Lehtinen, 1976).

Sex Role Theory

Sex role theory – according to this theory, males are raised to be goal-oriented and forceful, and females are raised to be passive and dependent. Sex role theory and the idea of divided competencies have done a lot to impede ladies police officers in the attempts to obtain the same roles as males in patrol. Though females are believed to possess certain capabilities – sympathy and communicativeness – that make ladies more able than males in handling various situations where they are presupposed to be less able than males when it comes to coping with violent tasks that demand strength. The notion that females will be better in some activities seizes them to those fields denying the opportunities to evolve in other spheres, whilst reinforcing gender stereotypes. These expectations will result in far larger censure if a female fails to correspond to gendered expectations.


This research paper of gender dissimilarities in police force in the USA tested 4 hypotheses:

  • female applicants would fail the physical ability test more often than male applicants;
  • the physical ability selection which is test administered by the police agency does not measure critical tasks;
  • males and females police officers possess far more similarities than it is believed;
  • females utilize weapon, strength and power more infrequently then their male counterparts.


Though females make up just 11.7% of state and local police officers, society encourages them and considers females to be as efficient as men police officers in the majority of situations (Grant, 2000). In spite of this fact, females desire to enter the sphere experience obstacles and those who are appointed seem aims of sexist peers (Garcia, 2003). This is a little bit ironic, as the Knapp Commission – that was developed in the 1970s to cope with the corruption – discovered much of the anxieties concerning the organization which were focused on the hyper-masculine image. Despite the real capability, the idea that men and women police officers possess various strengths and weaknesses has influenced the tasks and the manners they are perceived by the public and the department (Burke & Mikkelsen, 2005). Women more often cope with juvenile and female casualties, as it is presupposed as a lady police officer will realize how to best manage the case (Burke & Mikkelsen, 2005). If a lady police officer fails to sufficiently cope with a situation, she is perceived to have certain competency and a harsher sanction than would be obtained if she were a man. This type of contextual bias is damaging as it implies not merely that ladies police officers should mainly cope with cases, but that men police officers are insufficient to do this (Garcia, 2003).


The findings demonstrate female and male police officers differ in their physical abilities. Females usually fail the physical capability test more often than males. According to Lehtinen, the physical ability selection test administered by the police agency does not measure critical tasks (Lehtinen, 1976). At the very same time Dantzker and Kubin assert that males and females police officers possess far more similarities than it is commonly believed. Females utilize weapon, strength and power more infrequently then their male counterparts. Also they demonstrate communicativeness and sympathy more often than males. However, the grounds why females choose the police sphere are the same as those of males (Dantzker & Kubin, 1998). Though there are comparable predictors of behavior dissimilarities for officers of both genders, dissimilarities may be utilized for the better work of the whole organization.

Proponents of certain competencies assert that growing representation will result in the far effectual police force; it is presupposed that women are more useful in managing domestic violence, in developing rapport with the community, and are less costly than males as they will be less likely to be involved in complaints (Grant, 2000). It is quite sardonic that, in spite of these positive points, many negative ones have been propagated as well: females are supposed to lack the physical strength necessary to police officers (Garcia, 2003). It has been held as a fact in spite of numerous researches, which have demonstrated that ladies are as able as males in managing violent situations, and that there is no dissimilarity in how they manage daily violence (Rabe-Hemp, 2008).

The occurrence of sexual discrimination and treatment of females within police is focused on the societal expectation that ladies will fail in the sphere (Rabe-Hemp, 2008). If this were accurate, then the troubles ladies experience in policing could be overcome by a break of the stereotypes, anti-discrimination regulations, and equivalent opportunity programs (Burke & Mikkelsen, 2005). In fact, researches have examined gender influence on the daily parts of police work. Females are promoted as valuable hires based on supposed communicative and compassionate capabilities. Actually, at the heart of the debate a sexist idea has arisen concerning the differences between males and females. There is an opinion that compared to females males are more rational and decisive. The notion that ladies hold the direct opposite to these characteristics is damaging to females’ image within the sphere and serves just to further the notion that, due to the sex, females cannot and will not be capable to work as police officers as successfully as males (Burke & Mikkelsen, 2005).


The research paper demonstrated at least several dissimilarities in analysis between men and women police officers. A practical usage of this research is that in attempting to combat gender bias, the police scholars should take into account dissimilarities in compassion and moral reasoning between males and females.

Most of the literature on sex in police force has assessed sex dissimilarities in arrest levels and police usage of rude force. Whilst mere sex dissimilarities in police conduct are significant for acknowledging skills males and females bring to the policing occupation, research must also determine under what circumstances sex dissimilarities emerge and what factors influence the ties among officer gender and conduct for this knowledge to be positive. The findings give mixed support for the general hypothesis of sex-specific responses and sexrole theory. Consistent with the literature, the research paper suggests that females are much less likely than males to use excess controlling behavior, such as threats and arrest. Astonishingly, the findings do not verify that females are more likely than men to utilize supporting conduct, even when managing for women's greater possibility to hold policing tasks. These findings, whilst unforeseen, are extremely significant. Merely presuming ladies police officers manifest traditionally feminine characteristics in policing assignments is obviously an overly unsophisticated conceptualization of the meaning and influence of sex in police force.


The major argument for the introduction of females into policing is the motion that ladies bring to the sphere gender-unique skills and capabilities. The argument of “special competencies” has formed the manner females have worked in the sphere for the last 170 years. This research paper has investigated the assumption of gender dissimilarity, the influence of sex role theory on policing, found dissimilarities and similarities between males and females in police force. A practical usage of the research is that in trying to struggle with gender bias the police scholars have to take into consideration the dissimilarities in compassion and moral reasoning between females and males.

There is a common supposition of dissimilarity among gender; however, much of the studies on police officers has demonstrated that males and females are drawn to policing for comparable grounds and that there is little dissimilarity in how they see the roles. In spite of the awareness, ladies officers employed in the same capacity as men police officers are no more likely than their men partners to engage in stereotypical feminine, compassionate conducts. Since females usually feel less encouragement from the colleagues and supervisors, the uncertainty to engage in excessive force as eagerly as men officers makes sense as that conduct would make them likely to get critic. At the same time, ladies police officer’s hypothetical unwillingness to engage in violent force is not a terrible thing: human beings and officer injury are linked to over-, not under-, usage of force and strength. 


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