In existing literature about women in policing in the developed West, female officers have typically experienced gender related discrimination and marginalisation. Jennifer Brown worked out a model of women’s integration into policing in 1997 which encapsulates women’s evolution in police organisations. It was suggested that women should be numerically equal to men and enjoy equal opportunities with men in the police and any other profession. This is recognised as an ultimate goal for women.
This study examines whether the model may apply effectively in the People’s Republic of China – a country does not have many parallels, nor many shared cultures, with the Western, developed jurisdictions. In doing so, it explores women in policing in mainland China. More specifically, it discusses women’s entry into policing, female representation in the public security police, and women’s current status, integration and gendered challenges in the police occupation.
In the conclusion, it questions whether the ‘Western’ model is precisely applicable to women in policing in China, where there are different socio-political priorities and approaches to gender equality for women. It points out that future research should investigate, empirically, how women police view their position in the police, as well as how male officers, police forces and the general public perceive female police officers’ occupational identify, their roles and contributions to policing and to what extent this impacts on women’s integration. These will help determine what is needed for advancing women in the police institution.
Anqi Shen is Professor of Law at Northumbria Law School, Northumbria University, United Kingdom. Anqi’s research focus is in the areas of sentencing, judicial culture, policing, organised crime, youth, gender, crime and justice, the legal profession, and migration and crime. Anqi has published widely in law, crime and justice in and in relation to China.
She is author of Offending Women in Contemporary China: Gender and pathways into crime (Palgrave, 2015), of Women Judges in Contemporary China: Gender, judging and living (Palgrave, 2017), and of Internal Migration, Crime and Punishment in Contemporary China: An inquiry into rural migrant offenders (Springer, 2018), and co-author of Fake Goods, Real Money: The counterfeiting business and its financial management (Policy Press, 2018).
She is Adjunct Professor with Law School, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics (China) and Senior Fellow with Crime and Justice Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology (Australia). She is a member of the editorial board of Women and Criminal Justice and of Trends in Organised Crime. She has previously worked as Reader in Law at Teesside University where she was the REF (Research Excellence Framework) Lead for Law. Before coming to Britain, she worked in China as a police officer and then a practising lawyer in a Nanjing law firm.