NIJ’s Policing Research Plan (2017-2022) highlights the need to understand factors that attract diverse candidates. We explored whether college students had ever considered policing and found men were significantly more likely than women to contemplate policing careers. Further, we found higher levels of masculinity were associated with greater odds of policing aspirations; the relationship between gender and aspirations was fully mediated by masculine self-concept. Although men typically reported higher masculinity scores, within-gender analyses indicated that masculinity was important for both men and women. Our findings suggest the continued association of masculinity with policing may undercut efforts to recruit a representative workforce.
Clinkinbeard, Samantha S.; Solomon, Starr J.; and Rief, Rachael M., "Who Dreams of Badges? Gendered Self-Concept and Policing Career Aspirations" (2020). Criminology and Criminal Justice Faculty Publications. 91.