The First Women Police: A Force for Equality or Infringement?

TitleThe First Women Police: A Force for Equality or Infringement?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsWoodeson, Alison
JournalWomen's History Review
Date Published06/1993

The First World War provided the opportunity in the United Kingdom to introduce women into the previously all-male bastion of police work. At this time, well in excess of 5000 women took up policing duties but, by 1922, their presence was again almost non-existent. This article charts the introduction, development and subsequent demise of women engaged in this work. The antagonism of dominant interests towards the first women police forms the main theme of this examination; however, attention is also paid to the class and gender attitudes of the policewomen themselves. It will be shown that their concern to instil moral and social control caused division amongst feminists and may have alienated many of the women whose rights they were supposed to be protecting.

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