By Staci Strobl
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
This article explores Bahrain's Women's Police Directorate, a separate unit for policewomen. Historically, the segregation of female police in separate units has charazterized the development of women in policing. The most popular theory describing women's entrance into policing involves a linear, developmental model in which segregation is a step toward full gender integration. This model has never been applied to contexts involving Muslim and Arab social constructions of gender. The article suggests that gender integration of the Bahraini police is unlikely, considering internal perceptions and dominant social and cultural Islamicization trends, which contract with the apparent state feminism operating in Bahrain. It thus suggests that a linear theory is too constricting in positing the inevitability of gender integration in all societies in which policewomen exist. Using a postcolonial theoretical framework, Bahraini trends preliminarily suggest a hybrid outcome in which some police units are gender segregated and others are integrated.
International Criminal Justice Review
Vol. 18, No. 1
March 2008 pp. 39-58