Under-representation of women in policing is a global phenomenon, with considerable commonality in barriers to career success and differential career experiences compared to men. Through a comparative analysis utilising unique survey and interview data with female and male senior police leaders in England and Wales, this paper considers whether cultural and structural barriers persist and how they are experienced by gender; examines the challenges encountered en route to senior rank; and considers how similarities or differences by gender impact upon careers. The findings are considered to have world-wide relevance, demonstrating that those officers achieving seniority tend to share similar career experiences whatever their gender, particularly at the highest ranks. Leadership styles emerge as homogenous with agentic traits and traditional styles persisting. Costs to achieving higher rank appear to differ by gender however, and access to senior rank is revealed as dependent upon engaging in traditional behaviours including a long-hours culture and ensuring family does not reduce work capacity, effectively promoting a ‘child-tax’ upon female policing leaders. It thus appears that a widespread and global tacit acceptance of policing as a male-dominated profession endures, impacting on female advancement compared to men.
- career experiences
- police leadership
Engendering change or an enduring status quo?: an analysis of the gendered experiences of senior police officers and the impact of gender on leadership in contemporary policingAuthor: Alexander, J., Sept 2019
Supervisor: Charman, S. (Supervisor)
Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisFile