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Gender differences in policing: signs of progress?

Ronald J. Burke (York University, Toronto, Canada)
Aslaug Mikkelsen (Stavanger University College, Stavanger, Norway)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 1 August 2005




This exploratory study aims to compare job demands, work outcomes, social and coping resources and indicators of psychological and physical health of male and female police officers in Norway.


Data were collected using anonymously completed questionnaires.


Many demographic differences were present in that male officers were older, worked more hours and overtime hours, were more likely to work continuous shiftwork, worked in smaller forces and were less educated. Few differences were found on job demands but male officers experienced more violence and threat, and female officers more harassment and discrimination. The two groups were generally similar on work satisfactions, social and coping resources and psychological and physical health.

Research limitations/implications

All data were collected using questionnaires raising the possibility of common method variance. It is also not clear extent to what these findings generalize to police officers in other countries.

Practical implications

While few differences were found between male and female police officers, the fact that females reported more harassment and discrimination suggests that police forces need to continue to address these gender issues.


While other studies of police officers have suggested widespread gender differences, few appeared here.



Burke, R.J. and Mikkelsen, A. (2005), "Gender differences in policing: signs of progress?", Employee Relations, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 425-436.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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