Dr. Debra Langan, associate professor criminology, published a study based on data from interviews with 50 female police officers from Ontario. CBC News reports Langan’s study found that pregnant female officers saw a change in responsibilities. Specifically, the officers reported women were given less prestigious assignments and duties more in line with officers suffering from disability.
Langan views culture as the the problem noting, “"Part of it has to do with the occupational culture that the research has clearly shown is typical in policing. There's a culture of cynicism and hegemonic masculinity, and this leads to women being seen as second class citizens.“
Recruiting more female officers and promoting women to impactful roles might help change the culture, but the real change has to come from departmental policies. The current policies appear to favor male officers. Langan suggests policies that address the realities of pregnant female officers observing, “They repeatedly have to prove their worth and so, when it comes to getting pregnant, taking maternity leave, and then returning to work, there's a lot of stigma attached to that."
Langan’s work will continue with further interviews. Langan’s previous research includes a range of topics including look at Canadian police mothers, verbal violence, community policing, and more. She holds her bachelor of arts in psychology from Carleton University, Ontario; and her master of arts in sociology from the University of Windsor, Ontario. She went on to earn her doctorate in sociology from York University, Toronto.
Prior to teaching criminology at Laurier, Langan served as a probation officer and later a case worker/substance abuse educator. Dr. Langan is an example of Laurier’s professors combining real-world experience with academic excellence to develop research as well as impactful courses.
Through Wilfrid Laurier University’s online criminology and policing program you have the chance to learn first-hand from faculty members like Dr. Langan. Gain insight into public safety and prepare yourself for a career helping others. If you have experience in police services and want to combine your professional experience with in-depth, marketable knowledge, consider the bachelor of arts in policing program. Both programs are 100% online and accessible 24/7. Learn more here.
Photo credit: CBC