Gendered Organization Perspective in Context: Female Officers in the Hong Kong Police 1950s to the Present:

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Annie Hau-nung CHAN , Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
This paper examines the transformation of women’s roles in the Hong Kong Police Force since their initial inclusion in 1950.  Using documentary sources, secondary data, focus group interviews and in-depth interview data, I discuss policy changes in pertaining to women officers’ roles and career development, and how they are perceived and experienced by retired and serving male and female officers.  Using Gendered Organization Theory as the organizing framework, I discuss the extent to which organizational and human resources policies (e.g. equal pay, female officers carrying firearms, training of women in the Police Tactical Unit, the replacement of the pension system with the Mandatory Provident Fund system and changes in public order policing tactics) have benefited women’s work conditions and career advancement options in the male-dominated occupation of policing.  Findings suggest that the extent to which the Hong Kong Police can be described as a gendered organization has undoubtedly changed over the years, particularly in the minds of most of the officers interviewed in this study.  However, gender remains a key structuring factor in shaping the work and career of male and female officers when actual organizational practices and policies are considered.  In addition, organizational culture specific to particular periods also play an important role in how police officers understand and experience gendered organizational processes.  The paper concludes by reflecting on the contributions of Gendered Organization Theory and its application to the case of the Hong Kong Police.