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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examination of Contributory Factors to the Low Representation of Women in Law Enforcement
by Molinaro, Laura A., Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2013, 195; 3573278
Abstract (Summary)

Since the passage of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964, female law enforcement officers have battled obstacles and barriers, both external and internal in their effort to gain equality and assimilate into the role of police officer. The problem examined in this qualitative study was the low percentage of women in sworn law enforcement positions of all ranks. Thirty-six sworn female officers currently serving in the state of Arizona were selected to participate in focus group discussions to assist in the phenomenological examination of low representation of women in law enforcement. The female officers were asked a series of questions to facilitate discussion in an effort to explore their experiences and possibly reveal underlying police cultural factors that may lead to limited opportunities for women who choose law enforcement as a career. The qualitative design fostered a sharing of the stories of these female officers and provided an in-depth understanding of their experiences both on and off the job related to their choice of career. Information-rich data provided by the participants served to inform the Arizona law enforcement community concerning the experiences and career choices of women in law enforcement. Discovered through focus group discussions were the reasons women choose law enforcement as a career as well as why they remain in the profession. The excitement of the job coupled with job security, and salary factored into the decision making processes. Data addressing promotion, leadership, and role models were also revealed with female officers advising an inequitable promotional process, yet one in which they believed women needed to participate to improve the profession for others. Recommendations of formal mentoring and succession planning were made along with changes in the recruitment process. Future study should include male participants as well as female participants. Funding sources or sponsoring organizations should be explored in an effort to expand the scope of future study. Conducting focus groups discussions in different parts of the state and for longer periods of time would permit individuals from different areas of the state an opportunity to participate.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shaw, Melanie
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Criminology, Organizational behavior, Gender studies
Keywords: Discrimination, Gender gap, Law enforcement, Sexual harassment, Tokenism, Women officers
Publication Number: 3573278
ISBN: 978-1-303-43126-5
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