One of the distinctive aspects of the police labour force in Victorian and Edwardian Britain was its all-male character. No woman in the period under discussion ever became an integral part of either the uniformed or the plain-clothes units. If women were occasionally employed, it was on a temporary basis and in an unofficial capacity, as will be discussed below. On the whole, the imposition of law and order was the preserve of men. Only during the First World War did women start entering the police workforce.1 Thus, by the sheer absence of women, the modern police network, formed in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, was conceived as a masculine occupation. This state of affairs was the result of a conscious decision on the part of policy makers-all men-who shared the general world view that jobs requiring strength and the use of force were best performed by men.2 They were, no doubt, also guided by the long-standing notion that the status of occupations and their practitioners rested upon the exclusion of women.3 Added to the denial of equal opportunity for women was the commonly held paternalist attitude that presumed to protect women from the risks inherent in police work.4.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2012 David G. Barrie and Susan Broomhall for selection and editorial matter; individual contributors, their contributions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (all)