Since the time of cavemen, gender work has been predefined. In hunter-gatherer communities, women were primarily responsible for gathering edible plants and food preparation while men were hunters who remained away from home to provide for their families. These gender roles have persisted over time and women are primarily viewed as homemakers while men are regarded as breadwinners (Kimmel et al., 2005). This attribution of work as a gendered construct is explained through Marxist feminism which aims to analyse the oppression of women through capitalism. It addresses the problems of equity of pay and the gendered work of women as reproducers of the nation.
Reproductive labor is work that constitutes the act of reproduction and childcare. It also constitutes housework such as cooking, cleaning, and overall household chores. The feminist philosophy views reproductive labor as an attempt to restrain women to the domestic sphere where they are involved in labor that is reproductive and therefore, uncompensated (Giménez, 2018).
Hochschild’s Three Types of Marital Roles
Hochschild identified three types of marital roles i.e., “traditional, transitional, and egalitarian”. The work division for each of these three marital roles differs. The traditional wife is characterized as a woman who understands and follows her household duties in the capacity of a wife and a mother. Such a traditional marital role attributes more power to the man and the woman forms her work identity through her male counterpart. The other extreme is the egalitarian role where the husband and wife seek to maintain a power balance. This can be achieved through equal division of home duties or equal focus on career development. The transitional marital role is a combination of the traditional and the egalitarian. A transitional woman does not identify her work role through her husband, rather it is through the development of independent work identity. She assists the husband in earning money however, the primary role of the breadwinner remains with the husband. Such men support their wife working however it must not be at the cost of ignoring the household chores (Hochschild & Machung, 1990).
Women in Police Force
Referential and indexical markers are used to describe and relate to genders. While referential markers are clear and categorical symbols, indexical markers are non-exclusive and encompassing. These indexical markers are often used in the police force to attribute gender to work. A female police officer with a serious demeanor may be interpreted as displaying a masculine trait however, women need to understand these indexical markers. The percentage of women joining the police force is on the rise, as women aim to create a neutral workplace that is reflective of their mental, social, and bureaucratic notions. This approach not only contests the primitive interpretation of police workspace but also helps them overcome the indexical challenges (McElhinny, 1997). In Canada 21% of all sworn police officers are females and an increasing proportion of women are being promoted to senior-level positions (Conor, 2018).
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) swore in five females and by the year 2000, 8% of the workforce constituted women. The hiring and promotion practices of RNC are female friendly as opposed to the concept of a glass ceiling faced by women at work. This glass ceiling effect act as an invisible barrier to women’s promotion in different arenas that promote sexism and constrain female progress. This is opposed to the glass accelerator encountered by men and which helps them smoothly progress to the topmost positions within a company (Williams, 1992). Today, this percentage has gone up to 32% which is above the national average of 30%. At RNC, 80% of the civilian staff are females many of whom are appointed to influential positions such as executive director, director, and legal service officers. They perform tasks ranging from maintenance of records to emergency dispatches. Females are employed as analytics, legal service providers, forensic officers, and much more. This diversity of work is reflective of RNC’s work as the organization works with a motto of breaking bias (RNC, 2022).