Women in Federal Law Enforcement: The Role of Gender Role Orientations and Sexual Orientation in Mentoring Academic Article uri icon


  • Women have always been under-represented in United States' law enforcement relative to the population, but women are successful law enforcement officers who bring important skills to the field. Thus, understanding work experiences and the barriers female law enforcement officers face is critical in retaining and promoting women in the field. However, law enforcement is also a masculine, male-dominated occupation causing even greater occupational stress to women through discrimination, exclusion, and harassment (Kakar 2002). The goal of this study was to analyze the relationships among gender role orientations (masculinity and femininity), sexual orientation, and mentoring for female sworn federal law enforcement officers throughout the United States. It was hypothesized that (1) masculine female officers would receive more mentoring, (2) low femininity would enhance masculinity's effect, (3) sexual minorities would receive less mentoring, negating the beneficial effects of masculinity when the interaction is taken into account, and last, (4) the 3-way interaction between masculinity, femininity, and sexual orientation would uniquely impact mentoring. In the current sample, masculinity was found to positively relate to career mentoring and role modeling whereas sexual orientation was negatively related to career mentoring. The three-way interaction between masculinity, femininity, and sexual orientation also significantly related to career mentoring and role modeling; implications and future directions are discussed. 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Barratt, C. L., Bergman, M. E., & Thompson, R. J.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Barratt, Clare L||Bergman, Mindy E||Thompson, Rebecca J

publication date

  • July 2014