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Women in Policing
By: Erin Skillings
Early years of female policing in Canada
The "traditional" role of women
The Early Years
As early dated as 1651 police presence in Canada
Not until 1912 women were eligible to join the force
Vancouver's first two policewomen were Lurancy D Harris and Minnie Miller.
Not given Uniforms
Social worker roles
Decline in 1920s, '30s, and '40s
Crime-control model and perceived roles to play a factor in decline
Picture courtesy of Vancouver Sun, 2014.
Change in societal roles
Thought to be less committed, have to fulfill domestic roles, negative effects to organizations.
Job performance questioned
As of 2015 there were 68,777 police officers in Canada.
Out of this number, only 14,332
Isolated and vulnerable
"locker room" talk
RCMP Officers Speak Out
As of October 6th, 2016 six women spoke out about sexual harassment with allegations of:
Unwanted sexual touching
Women more likely to leave the job earlier than men
Lack of female role models to look up to and learn from
First Canadian female officers introduced in 1912
In my presentation I will be talking about the discrimination and sexual harassment female officers may be subject to face on a daily basis,
-as well as the significantly lower job retention they have compared to their male counterpart.
-I will also being talking a bit about the early years of female policing in Canada and
-and ill be talking about a recently covered media outbreak of 6 former RCMP officers
-261 years later.
-Vancouver and Edmonton first to hire women
- were sworn in on June 18 1912 with a yearly salary of $960, the lowest in the department
-women in these positions would not be issued uniforms or police paraphernalia and would be designated the roles of social workers such as helping children and women who were victims of the often drunk, disorderly, and corrupting behavior of men
-It would be another 35 years until women wore police uniforms, and six decades before women had the right to carry firearms and were assigned to regular patrol duties like their male counterparts.
-Decline as a consequence of lack of interest, lack of support from women's organizations, such as the Women's Christian Temperance union, and majorly the lack of acceptance from male-dominated police forces.
-As described in our textbook- Crime control model put emphasis on military style command structure, reactive response, and strict adherence to the definition of law which conflicted with the perceived roles that women could serve in the police force.
-Lurancy D. Harris, 48, and Minnie Millar, 34. This photo shows two unidentified female officers on the 400 block of West Hastings Street in the 1940s.
-Especially in the early days, Harris and Millar had to make do with long heavy skirts, button-up jackets, hats, gloves and purses to carry valuables.
-They were given no training and told to focus their work on low-income and poorly educated women and girls. The thought at the time was that any woman, even those with money and some influence, were vulnerable to “inappropriate and unfeminine” behaviour.
-Harris and Millar patrolled dance halls, cabarets, pool halls, beer parlours, parks, and beaches — anywhere that young women might get themselves into trouble. They also acted as matrons in the jail and escorted female victims and suspects to their court appearances.
-As women became increasingly well-educated and career-orientated, as well as the legal requirements to have employment opportunities for women in government jobs, police agencies began to have more women added to the force.
-According to the Gender Model when compared to men, female workers were seen as less involved with their work and less committed to their careers. Women were given jobs based on the assumptions that they have a greater commitment to their family and their domestic roles.
-It was once believed that the employment of too many women in important-roles of the workplace organization will, consequently, negatively affect the professionalism and competitiveness of the organization.
-Still to this day, when pursuing their careers women can face many negative expectations and doubts from the pre installed idea of a woman's"traditional role" in society.
-Men often believe that women are unable to be competent police officers due to their physical statures, but research shows this non violent nature as a strength and that women are more much successful by using their voices to control a situation rather than having it escalate to a physical altercation.
-Looking into more recent times, out of all the police officers in Canada as of 2015-only 20% of them were females.
-Women end up feeling isolated and vulnerable in this male dominated work environment.
-Female officers may find themselves to be the subject to sexist "locker-room talk", which is defined as the crude, vulgar, offensive and often sexual trade of comments guys pass to each other.
-Along with questionings of their commitment to their jobs, competency to do it- as talked about in the last slide, as well as assignment to menial (mEEnEEuul) duties and exclusion of outside of work social activities.
-Recently there was extensive media coverage on the six RCMP officers who spoke out about sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination, bullying and intimidation within the RCMP.
-These women have been unable to reach out for help in fear of doubt, being shunned and the potential loss of their careers
-Complaints to superiors were dismissed, with members telling some of these women to “forget about it,” “walk away” or “put it behind you and move on,”
-One of these women, Linda Davidson, said her life was put in jeopardy by male members who refused to assist her calls for help while on patrol, apparently replying to one another“to let her go and see if she can fight,”
-When hearing about this current lawsuit in the media it really stuck with me, I couldn’t stop thinking that these women are only just now breaking the silence- some dealing with this harassment for close to 20 years- they have been left unable to work and some with serious psychological injuries and that this was only solely because they were women pursuing their careers.
Lastly I would like to talk about the rate of job retention female officers face.
-Research has shown that women are much more likely to leave the job early in their career when compared to men.
-Reasons for this can include many we have learned and talked about such as harassment, negative attitudes of male-coworkers and supervisors, family and childcare responsibilities, lack of support from management, blocked career opportunities, and inflexible work schedules.
-Women who are negatively viewed by their male coworkers, rarely get promoted to high ranking positions,and feel that they have no female role models can find themselves losing the drive and motivation to succeed with this career.
-Ways of moving forward and to make the job more welcoming towards employees with a family can be implementing shorter shifts and offerings of part time work considering the standard 12 hour shift of four days on four days off can be quite stressful to one whos both passionate of his or hers family and just as passionate of their careers.
- I feel like it is extremely important to have a large presence of females in a police force as a way of reducing problems of sexual discrimination and harassment that happens within the force and that more female police officer presence will improve the response to violence against women.
Female police officers face many stressors during their careers such as being subject to
-preconceived doubts of a female police officers ability to do their jobs
-seen as less committed to their careers
-Isolation and vulnerability they face solely as being females.
-that Research has shown that women are much more likely to leave the job early in their career when compared to men.
- and the importance of having a strong, well balanced presence of females on a police force to help benefit the community as well as creating more opportunities of promotion and a safe work environment for our female officers to work in.omen can face many negative expectations and doubts from the pre installed idea of a woman's"traditional role" in society.
-seen as l