Integration or exclusion? : perceptions of gender equality in policing
Gender equality has been a marginalised topic within policing studies, with a very small pool
of academics conducting work on this subject in recent years. This thesis aims to make a
contribution to this at both a theoretical and empirical level. This is done by refining and
extending theoretical models proposed by previous researchers, in the light of new data on
policewomen's and their male colleagues' perceptions of gender equality in policing.
Key theories, themes and findings in the thesis relate to organisational change, power and
social control, masculinities and exclusion. Some of these concepts have not previously been
systematically applied to policewomen's experiences. Other themes which have been applied
to women in organisations more generally and on occasion, specifically to women in policing,
include: stereotyping, visibility, isolation, sisterhood, double standards, the work-home
balance and sexual harassment. These concepts are analysed, reflected in the findings, and
extended in the concluding chapters.
Previously, where empirical studies have been conducted, these have rarely, if ever, been the
subject of follow-up studies using either the same research instruments or the same police
service. Such follow-ups are an important method of measuring change over time. This study
is thus partly a follow-up study of Jones' (1986) survey of one police service in England and
Wales and also, that of Brown's (1991) and Anderson, Brown and Campbell's (1993) studies.
Methods employed include a questionnaire survey, interviews and a focus group, using the
same police force as Jones (1986), and many of the same questions. Anderson et al's (1993)
questionnaire is also drawn upon, with amendments and additions. The study thus synthesises
the methods used in two pivotal empirical studies (Jones, 1986; Anderson et al, 1993) on
gender equality in the UK in the last two decades, as well as using grounded theory methods
to explore emerging priorities in this area. As well as following up earlier work, therefore, the
study sets a new baseline for further work.
Whilst I found evidence of some improvement in women officers' position since the studies by
Jones (1986) and Anderson et al (1993), women are still a marginalised group within policing
and experience a range of discriminatory behaviour, some of which may have become more
covert in recent years, but some of which is still quite openly expressed and tolerated.