Perceptions and Perceived Challenges Associated with a Hypothetical Career in Law Enforcement: Differences Among Male and Female College Students
1 online resource (66 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
While many agencies have expanded their efforts to hire and retain females, women remain underrepresented across local, state, and federal law enforcement. Researchers have often studied the experiences and challenges of women who are currently employed in law enforcement. However, there is less knowledge of whether women, who are not yet officers, also perceive future challenges and gender discrimination within a hypothetical law enforcement career. The current study surveyed 387 male and female undergraduate students, most of whom are criminal justice majors/minors, to compare perceptions and beliefs of a hypothetical career in law enforcement. Bivariate analyses were used to compare male and female perceptions and a series of linear and logistic regression models were used to predict perceived success and interest in a future law enforcement career. These results suggest that female students are less interested in a law enforcement career, perceive themselves as potentially less successful as officers, and perceive less personal fulfillment from a hypothetical career in law enforcement. Young women were also more likely to believe that female officers receive less respect, acceptance, and opportunity within law enforcement. Multivariate models indicated that gender, perceptions of personal fulfillment, perceived support of family/friends, and interest in a law enforcement career significantly predicted perceived future success as an officer; gender and interest were also found to have a significant interaction effect when predicting perceived success. A second model suggested that perceptions of fulfillment and success were significantly and positively impacting interest in a law enforcement career. Additionally, fulfillment and success mediated the impact of gender on interest in a law enforcement career. These findings are important for recruiters because the sample is comprised of a large target applicant pool for law enforcement (i.e, young, college-educated, criminal justice students). Law enforcement agencies should be encouraged to proactively recruit young women, while making an effort to discuss the negative perceptions of the career, particularly perceptions surrounding their potential success, perceived fulfillment, and support of family/friends.
FEMALE OFFICERLAW ENFORCEMENTPOLICINGSTUDENT PERCEPTIONSWOMENWOMEN IN POLICING
Exum, M.Hartman, Jennifer
Thesis (M.S.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2016.
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