National Police Woman Day Date in the current year: September 12, 2024

National Police Woman Day National Police Woman Day was created to acknowledge and celebrate female police officers and their contribution to the enforcement of law and order. It is celebrated annually on September 12.

In the United States, women have served in law enforcement since the late 19th century. Marie Owens is credited with being the first female police officer in the United States. She joined the Chicago Police Department in 1891 at the age of 37 and served there until her retirement in 1923. Sgt. Marie Owens was primarily tasked with enforcing welfare and child labor laws.

Other early female police officers in the United States included Lola Baldwin, who began working for the Women’s Auxiliary to the Police Department for the Protection of Girls in Portland in 1908, and Alice Stebbins Wells, who was hired by the LAPD in 1910. Stebbins Wells would later serve as the first president of the International Policewomen’s Association.

Most of the early policewomen who served in law enforcement during the first half of the 20th century belonged to the middle or upper class and joined the force due to being inspired by the moral reform movement. Their work usually involved dealing with women’s and children’s issues and desk work.

The role of female officers in the force began to change in the 1960s, in no small part thanks to the second-wave feminist and civil rights movements. Working class women started to join the force, and the role of policewomen as social workers, moral reformers, and secretaries began to diminish. However, it took police departments some time to adjust to the new reality and properly integrate female officers into departmental work.

Women made up 12.6% of all sworn police officers in the United States as of 2018. The representation of women varies on the size of the police department; for example, in 2008, women made up to 15% of officers in large police departments but only about 4% of officers in small sheriffs offices.

Sadly, female police officers still face gender-based discrimination. The term “brass ceiling” has been coined to describe unwritten, uncodified barriers that keep women in law enforcement and military from getting promoted and progressing in their careers. Some of these barriers have to do with tokenism, i.e. police departments trying to come across as diverse while not actually caring about diversity.

National Police Woman Day was created to celebrate female police officers as well as to raise awareness of the importance of better representation of women in law enforcement. National Police Woman Day events are meant to encourage women to join law enforcement and take up leadership roles within the force, as well as to combat the stereotypes surrounding female police officers.

On National Police Woman Day, police departments across the country celebrate female officers and the roles they perform in policing. You can join the celebration by congratulating female police officers you know and thanking them for their hard work, learning more about the role of women in law enforcement, and raising awareness on social media with the hashtag #NationalPoliceWomanDay.

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National Police Woman Day, unofficial holidays, professional holidays, women in law enforcement, female police officers