Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-30-02

Number of Women in Policing Decreasing; Enormous Gender Gap Found in Rate of Police Brutality

National Center for Women & Policing Releases New Studies Showing Number of Women in Policing Decreasing; Enormous Gender Gap Found in Rate of Police Brutality

Gender Balance in Law Enforcement Urged at the Kick-off of Annual Conference of Women Police Leaders

Washington, DC – For the second consecutive year, the number of women in policing has declined, according to the latest survey conducted by the National Center for Women & Policing, a division of the Feminist Majority Foundation. The new survey, Equality Denied: The Status of Women in Policing 2001, analyzed data from a stratified random sample of 360 agencies from throughout the U.S., and is the fifth annual study conducted by the NCWP to gauge the status and growth of women in law enforcement. The percentage of women in police agencies with 100 or more sworn officers remains small in 2001 at 12.7%, and registered a decrease from 14.3% in 1999.

“The fact that the percentage of women in law enforcement is decreasing is alarming,” said Margaret Moore, Director of the National Center and the highest-ranking woman ever to have served in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF). “Not only is there a smaller percentage of women in policing, but women are virtually absent at the highest ranks of law enforcement, holding only 7.3% of top command positions,” continued Moore. “In fact, more than half (55.9%) of large agencies surveyed report no women in top command.”

“Widespread bias in police hiring, selection policies and recruitment practices keeps the numbers of women in law enforcement artificially low,” continued Moore. “And once on the job, women often face discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and are maliciously thwarted in their attempts to move up the ranks. At the present rate of growth, women will not achieve equality in police agencies for several generations, if ever,” concluded Moore.

“The cut back in affirmative action and the loss of consent decrees mandating the hiring and/or promotion of women and minorities has begun to reverse the very modest gains women made in policing over the last thirty years,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the parent organization of the National Center for Women & Policing. Of the 247 agencies responding to this year’s survey, 40 indicated that they had once been under a consent decree for hiring women and/or minorities, but only 22 of those hiring decrees currently remain in effect. Citing the Department of Justice’s recent decision to withdraw from the Lanning v. South Eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) case challenging discriminatory hiring tests, Smeal observed, “Without the willingness of the Department of Justice to bring lawsuits and negotiate consent decrees
to remedy discriminatory hiring practices by law enforcement agencies, the percentage of women in law enforcement will likely decrease further.”

A companion survey of a random sample of 384 smaller law enforcement agencies with fewer than 100 sworn personnel found that women comprise an even lower 8.1% of all officers, and hold only 3.4% of all top command positions. For these smaller and rural agencies, 97.4% have no women in top command. The survey of smaller agencies was conducted in conjunction with the Justice and Safety Center at Eastern Kentucky University.

“The under-representation of women in law enforcement has tremendous implications for communities served, especially for combating violence against women,” continued Smeal. “Female officers report greater support for the principles of community policing in comparison with their male colleagues, and female officers also respond more effectively to cases of domestic violence – which account for up to half of all violent crime calls to police agencies.”

Bolstering earlier research showing significant differences between male and female officer involvement in excessive force incidents, the National Center for Women

Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

12/16/2014 Federal Lawsuit Challenges the Wisconsin Law That's Putting Pregnant Women in Prison - A federal civil rights lawsuit is being filed on behalf of a Wisconsin woman who was jailed after allegedly using methamphetamines while 14 weeks pregnant. Tamara Loertscher, 30, was jailed after seeking prenatal care at a Mayo Clinic branch in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. . . .
 
12/16/2014 Personhood Groups Plan to Launch County and Municipal Measures to Restrict Abortion Access - A newly-created anti-abortion group has announced a new tactic meant to end abortion access nationwide. In the wake of major defeats for personhood ballot measures in Colorado and North Dakota's recent elections, anti-abortion extremist Gualberto Garcia Jones, who authored Colorado's failed Amendment 67, is now instructing groups to abandon statewide votes for personhood amendments. . . .
 
12/16/2014 Thousands Marched for Justice in Washington, DC in the Wake of Fatal Police Violence - On Saturday, December 13, the National Action Network (NAN), NAACP, and other civil rights organizations led the Justice For All March in Washington, DC. . . .