Empowering Women in Blue Uniforms—Gender and Police in South Africa
Gender and Policing in South Africa
Gender in the police force has received scant attention by researchers, although there are complex social dimensions at play in how male and female law enforcement officers relate to each other in the workplace. Given the fact that males predominate in the police force, their female counterparts are often marginalised due to their sexual orientation and certain stereotypes that prevail about their femininity. Male officers perceive female officers as physically weak individuals who cannot go about their duties as this is an area of work deemed more appropriate to men. Based on this perception, female officers are discriminated against in active policing and often confined to administrative duties. This study looks at how female police officers are discriminated against in the global police culture across the globe, the logic of sexism and women’s threat to police work, men’s opposition to female police work, gender representivity in the police force, and the integration and transformation of the South African Police Service to accommodate female police officers. The study highlights that although police officers are discriminated against globally, in the South African context positive steps have been taken to accommodate them through legislative reform.