"Doing Gender" or "Doing Policing?" Gender Identity and Gender Role Beliefs Among Police Officers
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The purpose of the present study is to increase understanding of the gender identity and gender role beliefs of male and female police officers. Officers were asked to complete the Personal Attributes Questionnaire and the Attitudes Towards Women scale in order to assess their gender identity and role beliefs. Results indicated that male officers held more egalitarian gender identities, self-identifying as having equally masculine and feminine qualities. Female officers tended to view themselves as having more feminine qualities. A majority of officers held contemporary gender role beliefs, although females were more likely than males to hold traditional gender role beliefs. Both male and female officers adhered to traditional gender ideology in relation to roles for men and women in marriage and dating. Male officers’ gender identities were more likely to be egalitarian than masculine; this may be the product of a police department’s style of policing. Community policing emphasizes stereo-typically feminine attributes. Because policing is a male-dominated profession, female officers may feel threatened and over-present feminine qualities and role beliefs in order to assert their identity as women. Overall, the results suggest a complex interplay between gender and police identity that requires further research.