Female attrition from the police profession
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAlecu, A.I. & Fekjær S.B. (2020). Female attrition from the police profession. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management. 43(2), 375-389. doi:https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-09-2019-0147 https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-09-2019-0147
Purpose: Do female police recruits drop out of police education and/or leave the profession more often than men, and has this changed over time? Can gender differences be explained by the background characteristics and family obligations of the recruits? Design/methodology/approach: This paper employs administrative registry data covering all individuals admitted to the police academy (1995–2010, N = 6570) and all academy recruits employed in the Norwegian police (1992–2014, N = 7301). The paper analyses the data using discrete-time logistic regression and coarsened exact matching. Findings: The levels of dropout and attrition are generally low. However, female recruits have a somewhat greater tendency both to drop out of education and to leave the force. The gender differences are quite stable, although the percentage of female recruits has risen sharply. Family obligations do not seem to explain female attrition from the police force. Research limitations/implications: Because women tend to leave the police more often than men, further research is suggested in investigating female police recruits’ experiences. However, the relatively low level of dropout and limited gender differences also provide a reason to question whether stories of the police as a male-dominated profession not adapted to women are valid across time and in different settings. Originality/value: This study provides exhaustive and detailed longitudinal data not previously available in studies of police careers. This study also tracks attrition in a period that has involved both increased numerical representation of women and changes in police culture, while accounting for other observable differences between male and female police officers. Contrary to common explanations, there is limited importance of family obligations and altered gender composition.