Police Women: Life with the Badge

Police Women: Life with the Badge

Police Women: Life with the Badge

Police Women: Life with the Badge


It is often said that a woman must do a job twice as well as a man in order to get half the credit. This is particularly true of women in law enforcement. Women have been involved in various forms of policing for the last 100 years, but it wasn't until the Equal Employment Act of 1970 that women could move from the job of meter maids to patrol and detective work. Yet less than 1% of all top-level cops are women, and there remain significant obstacles in the career paths of women in the force. This book looks at the history of women police officers and provides first-hand accounts of women at every level, including those who drop out. It addresses discrimination, competition, lack of mentoring, differential treatment and sexual harrassment, examining what issues play into the decision to stick it out or leave that many policewomen face. It also considers the family issues these women return home to at the end of the day.

Unlike other treatments of the subject, Alt and Wells show how women have changed police work into a more community-oriented model of policing, reduced police violence, served as a strong force to promote a more effective response to domestic violence within police departments, and helped with community-police relations. With a combination of first-hand accounts, careful research, and lively analysis, the authors are able to convey the actual experiences of women who have made their careers behind the shield.


A number of books and studies about women in law enforcement demonstrate both the challenges and the rewards of such a career. Still, the truest picture of what really happens when women join [the biggest boy's club in America] comes from the voices of the women who have been or are there. Their struggle up the ladder to try to reach top-ranking positions in law enforcement is a fascinating tale of both success and failure, of fair play and politics.

However, Police Women: Life with the Badge is not a book that presents only the current problems of being a female in law enforcement. The book provides a brief historical perspective of the women who have been the pioneers in this field. For those females who contemplate entering the male, macho world of policing, Police Women discusses some of the advantages women bring to this profession. Also, advice is offered to women considering choosing policing as a career by the women who have surmounted many obstacles and broken through the brass ceiling to gradually make their mark in law enforcement.

Through research, which includes some of the writings of oftencited authors considered to be authorities on women and policing (such as Dorothy Moses Schulz, Peter Home, Susan Ehrlich Martin, Kim Lonsway, and retired Chief Penny Harrington), the authors relate the history of police women from the 1800s to the present time.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.