Women police officers in Hong Kong : femininity and policing in a gendered organization

Annie, Hau-nung CHAN, Lawrence, Ka-ki HO

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Police work is considered to be a masculine, male-dominated occupation, where studies show that women officers generally tend to play a complementary role. This paper examines how femininity has been articulated in the Hong Kong Police (HKP), which was first established in 1844 and recruited its first female officer in 1949. Early female recruits in the HKP were initially confined to supporting duties, and differential arrangements for male and female officers were commonplace. However, the turning point appeared to have come during the 1967 riots, when a number of female officers took up front-line positions for the first time. After that female officers began to receive training in public order policing, carry firearms, and are today regularly deployed to the front line. Does this development indicate an increasingly inclusive and gender-neutral HKP? Through analysis of documentary and archival materials and in-depth interviews with 13 female police officers who variously served between the 1950s and the present, and using the gendered organization perspective as our framework, we examine the perceived qualities of femininity associated with female officers in the HKP, and discuss whether the changing roles of female officers indicate a more inclusive and gender-neutral police force.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-515
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Comparative Asian Development
Issue number3
Early online date19 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Policewomen
  • Hong Kong Police
  • gender and organization
  • femininity
  • women and policing


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