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Women in Security: Literature Review

Jazmin Garcia
The University of Texas at El Paso


Women in the private security services work field face different forms of inequality as compared
to men. Gender conceptions affect how women are both included and excluded from the field
because of how society has taught people to life with the idea of these so-called concepts of roles
that each gender is required to play as part of their daily life both at home and at work. The
extremities that are taken in exclusions do not compare to the includement of women security
officers but females are still slowly breaking the glass ceiling as they prove the companies that
they are fully suitable for the same pay and treatment as male officers. The struggle for pay
equity is first and foremost one of the most common struggles within the private security work
field. It is more challenging and least common for women security officers to be promoted into
supervisory positions than in compare to men. Another issue that many women security officers
have to face is that they are prompt to losing their job when pregnant since they cannot pursue
their responsibilities at the same level of the companys expectations. Getting rid of inequality
between women and men will definitely not happen overnight. It is still going to take a few more
years maybe even decades before it happens, but women in security have been and will continue
to fight for equal rights and will not stop until they prove the companies that their capabilities are
the same as for men and there is equality between the genders.

Women in Security: Literature Review

Women are starting to become more empowered in society and are now entering into
different business sectors that are originally known to be male centered, such as security
services. Some careers are now to an extent defying gender roles and encouraging females to
further their involvement within. Women are stereotyped to be weak and incapable in many
aspects and have to daily over come the social stigma from male dominant fields. As a minority
in the fields, women have a statistical higher success rate as compared to men since they prove
themselves by working harder to get better. At times, women will go further forward and be more
properly prepared by getting more training just so they can earn the respect needed for their line
of work. Unfortunately, women are still treated and thought of as less even if their capabilities
and knowledge are equal or higher than that to a male.
By nature, women are thought of to be caring and nurturing while men on the other hand
are supposed to be protectors and provide. The fundamental block of society has taught many
these so called concepts of roles that each gender is required to play as part of a daily life. That is
why it is so difficult to take female security officers seriously. Why is it that women security
officers are constantly being treated differently if they have the same exact training as men
officers? Only about 10% of the worlds security officers are women. There are many reasons
that contribute to why the difference between ratios of men and women are so drastically
different. Although many still dont believe in gender neutrality, that glass ceiling is getting
shattered little by little.
Despite the positive connotations of some of the labels that are given to male security
officers, there are also a number of negative terms that are used. Although women are not the

only ones being discriminated to men, women security officers are rattling under estimated. In
fact, it is statistically proven by UNWomen that a male might be promoted more easily over a
female even if she is working more efficiently. This is due to the fact that people tend to imagine
that a man is better suited to an authoritative role. Despite the fact that women represent half of
the global population, according to the World Bank, countries with greater gender equality are
more prosperous. Women empowerment in male dominant fields not only helps females prosper
as individuals, but it contributes to a healthy societal growth.

How do gender conceptions affect how women are both included and excluded from the
field in security?

There are many notions based on gender that affect the way that female security officers
are treated both positively and negatively. Society has fastened in our heads the idea that women
are less rational than men when it comes to the workplace, or simply that they have different
rationality due to their difference in nature because of femininity.

Its not just that men and women are perceived differently, the different gender
conceptions are associated with superiority and inferiority. Masculine domination in the field of
security services gives women security officers the feeling of minority. However the public is
considerably more positive in welcoming female presence in many situations; for example those
that involve children and/or other females. Females have been encouraged more into the security
services work field since they are capable of responding quickly to hazardous situations as an
effect due to their instinct. Women security officers are also included in some ways by
showing their capabilities in physical as well as mental and emotional fitness. However, the work
that women have encountered has brought even bigger problems with male officers having
negative attitudes. Male officers anticipate women to fail and question their abilities to
accomplish equal job skills.
The gender conceptions mostly deal with superiority from men, which directly minimize
the self-esteem and importance of women officers. One of the biggest exclusion issues within
security services is the bosses not sending women into crime areas/scenes because they are
thought of to not be capable. They are sometimes told to stay inside the facilities or vehicles
while the male officers go take care of the incident. These types of exclusions are very common
to women in security and most of the time is an effect of the act to persuade them into a transfer
to another site or work area. Women in security also get excluded by the off-limit assignments
that only men are allowed to do, they experience many hardships that root down to harassment.
In conclusion, male domination in the security services work field creates professional obstacles
to career advancement to female officers.
The extremities that are taken in exclusions do not compare to the inclusions of women
security officers but are still slowly breaking the glass ceiling to minimize that type of situations.

Being a woman with professional aspirations is a very difficult position to hold, seeking both a
family and a career is crucial in many work fields. Women are thought of to be sweet, caring, and
nurturing, therefore they are not taken seriously in a male dominant field. Security is a field
mostly employed with men and that is why female officers are constantly being trapped by social
expectations and being pressured to believe that they are getting into a workforce that does not
really accommodate to their abilities.

What are some problems women in security have faced?

Working women today, still have to struggle with having to fit their mom duties into the
scene without losing their job or being treated and seen differently. The inconvenient tension
between the family life and the workplace is what pushes women to do better and pushes them
into accomplishing more as well as prove people wrong. Many women security officers end up
losing their job when pregnant since they cannot pursue their responsibilities at the same level of
the companys expectations such as running, climbing, and the fact that a women security officer
will not be considered as intimidating while she has a pregnant belly. This is an issue that
females have to face in the workplace, the uncomfortable situation of having to choose a family
or the job since it is a risky work field.
Although it is understandable that a job such like security services is quite dangerous for
a pregnant officer since it can put the babys life into danger in the case of an incident, many
security companies still do not support their pregnant female officers with maternity leave during
the last stages of the pregnancy. The majority of pregnant officers lose their jobs, The U.S. is

the only industrialized country in the world not to mandate paid maternity leave for mothers, and
only 16 percent of U.S. companies surveyed in a 2008 Families and Work Institute report offer
paid maternity leave.1
Women in the law enforcement field are often indirectly resented by their male counterparts and
many end up having to face harassment. Additionally, many women confront the glass ceiling
and are just unable to rise to the supervisory positions despite their qualifications and abilities.
Many women dont even try to reach these positions because of fear of oppression from male
coworkers. Gender inequality is one of the biggest concerns that women security officers have to
face. As mentioned previously, many women in security restrain themselves from applying into
leadership positions due to the insecurities that many security companies have implanted on
them making them believe that they are not capable or suitable for such job positions. When
women realize that their abilities are unnoticed and ignored they
Although not all companies are the same, just like there are corporations that do this type of
exclusions and stand with the train of thought that men should earn more than women, there are
also companies that encourage their female employees to take the initiative in supervisory
positions and promote gender equality in their workplace. All the discrimination that women
security officers face daily, influences their motivation and leads to poor interpersonal relations
because of their low self confidence.
Pay inequity is one of the biggest concerns to females; women in security face this issue
by being placed for duty at sites that pay less than what the average site does. Companies choose
to pay their female employees less even if they are more educated and better suited for the job.
According to a study that was done, women earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn. This is very
disadvantageous for female officers because both genders do the same amount of work in the
1 Spuler, A. (2013, April 24). PROS and CONS of a Women Security Officer

security services work field as well as have the same certifications. Treating women equally and
fairly can benefit the performance of the site and speak well about the company, but there are
still security companies that choose to belittle women and doubt their abilities.

Why is the field of private security services a male dominant field?

The female of the household is known to do the majority of household chores such as
cleaning and cooking, since it is generally given as the woman's responsibility to take care of the
home. Household responsibilities leave women with less time to focus on their job and are
thought of to hold them back from all of the extra responsibilities needed in order advance to a
higher position. Private security services is a male dominant field since it is thought of to be
more convenient to the companies by having male officers other than females since male are
thought of to be more intimidating than women. There are many other reasons that contribute to

why security services is employed by mostly men. One of the bigger reasons to this issue, is that
female officers that are mothers have less opportunities of advancing into supervisory positions
because bosses know that women will need more time from work as compared to men and will
need maternity leave to take care of their child if they are pregnant. Some security companies are
required to hire a replacement for a female officer who is on maternity, making it less convenient
for the company because it makes them spend more money. As a consequence of this natural
event, employers tend to hire more males than females. Male domination in the field of private
security services gives women security officers the number as minority
Men are stereotyped by society to be the dominant gender, which contribute to why
security services companies are male dominant. Women tend to be better connected overall, they
however tend to chose to work in more female-dominant jobs. Women in security may have wide
networks but they still dont reach as high as the level of men. Men are usually content with
having very high demanding jobs that involve a lot of traveling, as opposed to women because
they have family concerns that make it more difficult for them to accept. A work field such as
security is one example of this issue and contributes to answer the question on why it is that
private security services is a field mostly worked by men.
Women are not always confident into applying for a job in security if they are petite or
small since society tends to question their abilities because of their size. Men are known to be
more intimidating and physically strong than women, that is also why men dont hesitate into
working for a security company. Although the trainings for the security license are the same for
both men and women, the judgements from society habitually get more subjective. Women are
usually known as to be nurturing while as opposed to men who are known to play the protectors
role and provide. Men in security are stereotyped to be strong and be able to take down any

individual that crosses their path as in contrast to women who are thought of to only be behind a
desk working on a computer doing paperwork. Many women do not feel comfortable in a job
such as security knowing that they can and might be asked to take someone down while the
police department arrives. Women rarely take into consideration the option of being in a job as a
security officer. Maybe if more females applied for security services jobs, the numbers of male
would balance out with the ones from female officers.



Although equal treatment in the workplace is one of the major requirements of the United States
Constitution and many other laws, the range of gender equality is still unclear. There are many
things that women in security have to daily face in their work site. Women earn only 78 cents for
every dollar that is earned by male officers. Women earn only about 1/10 of the worlds income
despite working 2/3 of the total working hours. Female officers are not promoted as quickly nor
as easily as men and are discriminated in ways that drain their confidence in abilities regardless
of their aptitudes. Empowering women to earn their fair share can benefit the communities,
companies, and most importantly their self-esteem. Inequality in the workplace is a significant
issue because it has a strong impact on womens motivation, ambition, and willingness. When
women are not motivated to perform their tasks, they act deceitfully. The issue of gender
inequality in the workplace affects the effectiveness of the companys corporate traditions. A
corporate culture is mostly grounded with the established ethical principles, which prohibit any
forms of discrimination to women. Female security officers face different inequality issues that
branch to many things such as lower wages compared to mens wages, sexual harassment,
stereotyping, and prejudices. Closing the crack of inequality between women and men will
definitely not happen overnight, it will still take a few more years maybe even decades. Women
in security have been fighting for equal rights and will not stop until they prove the companies
that their capabilities are the same and there is equality between the genders. Male domination in
the field of private security services gives women security officers the number as minority.



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