Punam Sahgal


Gender roles are learnt through the socialization process and subsequently extend to the work context where women and men are believed to have different characteristics and are therefore treated differently. The pervasiveness of workplace gender differences influence hiring practices, salaries and career growth opportunities for women. Gender-based work behavior differences are perceived to be much greater in male dominated professions like the police. While research suggests that there is no evidence that policewomen perform differently from their male counterparts in their day-to-day activities of police, negative male attitudes towards women in police significantly obstruct the advancement of policewomen. Induction of women in the police service in India is a recent change. This paper analyses the beliefs and unique experiences of women in a police department in Delhi, India. Using a comparative perspective, it examines the issues and challenges relating to women in police and the concomitant experiences of policemen, posed by the more recent entry of women in the service. Quantitative data, supported by in-depth interviews are obtained from a large sample of women and men from the rank and file of the police. The data suggest that gender based work behaviour differences are perceived to be predominant. Women are assigned peripheral roles and are yet to be integrated with the mainstream. These findings have significant implications for developing relevant human resource policies in police departments to deal with the changing demographics and for building a gender-inclusive organisation.

Note on the Author

Punam Sahgal, Professor, Organisation Behavior, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, Noida Campus