Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Dr. Pamela Jenkins

Second Advisor

Dr. Bethany Stich

Third Advisor

Dr. David Gladstone

Fourth Advisor

Dr. John Kiefer


Women are under-represented in both numbers and at the command level of police agencies after over 40 years of women in policing. The national average for women in policing, as reported by the 2012 Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Report, was 11.9%. Women in state police and highway patrol agencies are well below the national average, particularly in the southern states where the percentage is below 6%. This study uses qualitative data to examine the role of gender and the gendered organizational structure and culture of police agencies through interview data from 24 women troopers and one academy cadet who are or were employed in seven southern state police and highway patrol agencies between 1972 and 2012. The data from their lived experiences indicate that women continue to encounter barriers and challenges to recruitment, employment, assignment, retention, and promotional opportunities. Understanding how women experience paramilitary policing institutions and the gendered nature of a male-dominated workforce can be used to argue for meaningful social and organizational changes in state police and highway patrol agencies and, by association, the profession of policing.

Keywords: gendered roles, gendered institutions, gendered structure organizations, gendered culture, police, troopers, state police, highway patrol, women police, leadership, hegemonic masculinity, gender


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