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Gender equity policy in Australian and New Zealand policing: a five year review

Prenzler, Tim, Fleming, Jenny and King, Amanda L. (2010) Gender equity policy in Australian and New Zealand policing: a five year review International Journal of Police Science & Management, 12, (4), Winter Issue, pp. 584-595.

Record type: Article


This paper examines the impact of equity measures in Australian and New Zealand policing, involving nine police departments, from 2003/4 to 2007/8. The findings were mixed. Overall, the number of sworn female officers in both countries continued to trend slowly upwards, with an average of 26.6 per cent in Australia and 17.1 per cent in New Zealand in 2007/8. However, recruit numbers appeared to have peaked around 33 per cent and were in decline in most departments where data were available. Women continued to move up the ranks in all departments, but there were still very few women in senior ranks. Although women were not separating at a higher rate than men, they were more likely than men to resign. While more positive than earlier appraisals of equity in Australia, the findings continue to reflect inadequate data collection that would address long-term inequity issues. The labour force participation rate of women in Australia has increased significantly over the last few decades. However, women are not necessarily focusing on traditional career paths but rather see employment opportunities as one of many options that include family and lifestyle balance. Nevertheless, it is argued here that police organisations should remain committed to gender equity. Affirmative action and other gender equity strategies are considered necessary to encourage greater participation by women, for the benefits to women of a policing career and for the wider good of the community and police organisations themselves. Better diagnostic data and visible commitment are required to support this objective.

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Published date: December 2010
Keywords: equality in the workplace, policewomen, affirmative action programs, sex discrimination against women, sexual harassment in law enforcement, police administration
Organisations: Social Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 338239
ISSN: 1461-3557
PURE UUID: 1a7f75f5-f0db-404c-8df7-702c806d454e
ORCID for Jenny Fleming: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 11 May 2012 09:21
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:58

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Author: Tim Prenzler
Author: Jenny Fleming ORCID iD
Author: Amanda L. King

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