BREAKING AND ENTERING: Policewomen on Patrol by Susan Ehrlich Martin

BREAKING AND ENTERING: Policewomen on Patrol

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Studying officers of the Washington, D.C., police department, Martin describes and explains why women have difficulty breaking into the job. Besides traditional sexist biases against women as cops, there are other formal and informal organizational barriers, such as the powerful ""old boys"" route to preferred assignments and promotion. Jokes, sabotage, and simple sexual harassment push some ""policewomen"" to become super-competent overachievers, says Martin, while other so-called ""policewomen"" revert to feminine passivity, a stance ill-suited to the usual tough-guy cop role. Attitudes of male officers range from the defensive hostility of ""traditionals"" (mostly older white) to the cooperation of ""moderns"" (mostly younger and black) who think that policewomen--more tactful and community-service-oriented than men--can change police work for the better. The number of policewomen (about one percent in most cities) is not likely to grow while they are denigrated by fellow officers in the stationhouse and by citizens in the street, but attitudes are slowly changing. Once a sociology dissertation, Martin's account is intermittently afflicted with jargon, but it is still a readable tour.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Univ. of California