Women can work anywhere now, so career opportunities are wide open. Still, equality within some positions leaves something to be desired. Law enforcement is one example. As a woman, it isn’t easy to get ahead in an industry that is primarily run by men, however not impossible. According to Dispatch, a popular police e-newsletter, women still only fill about 12% of sworn officer positions despite women’s equality legislation. This also means that ranking positions are naturally filled by men. Nevertheless, we will continue to work through the stigmas and see women in police work as an asset.
Women In Police Work- Stand Out Tip #1: Find The Thin Blue Line
Men can become suspicious of women if they feel threatened in any way. This goes doubly for situations that arise on their job. But, hey, no one wants to lose their identity and value, which puts you in a sticky spot. Though it may not be the intention of women to subdue and over rank men in this field, they do have a right to succeed. This alone might seem threatening.
One solution might be to first find common ground with fellow officers (men and women). Create a sense of team that shows that you all are in it together. There will always be politics in these environments, so building trust serves everyone. I believe, as with any position, the ones who succeed are dedicated to a team and also do an excellent job. Find a balance between your ambition and what’s best for the whole team.
Women In Police Work- Stand Out Tip #2: Get Fit
It’s likely that you are fit enough to be a police officer,otherwise, you would not have applied. However, strength and fitness are two areas that men can get touchy about. Conventional wisdom dictates that men are bigger and stronger, and that makes them more effective for the role. Of course, this may be true as far as physical ability. However, there is more to law enforcement than strength. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to your overall health and fitness. On the contrary, if you want to stand out, do your best to stay strong and agile.
Women In Police Work- Stand Out Tip #3: Be Well-Educated
Because women may already be at a disadvantage advancing in law enforcement, it is essential to be well-educated in the field. To begin with, if you can go into it with a degree or coursework, you just may delete some of that disadvantage. With criminal justice programs online, you could easily get a degree even while working.
With a detailed knowledge of the system, you can take on additional responsibility and be seen as a vital part of your law enforcement team. There are also courses that aren’t specific to the job, but ones which bosses love all the same. A leadership program is a great example, as is a computer course.
Women In Police Work- Stand Out Tip #4: Keep A Positive Mental Attitude
Never underestimate the power of a positive mental attitude and it’s impact on your success. There will be times when things don’t go your way, or when the system discriminates against you because of your gender. These are things that could derail you if you let them. It’s important to stay focused on your goals and not get emotional about the uncomfortable parts of the job. If you get emotionally compromised, talk to someone you can trust that is outside of the situation.