Women in male-dominated careers, find strength in each other


APPLETON- The profession of a police officer is a male-dominated field. But two women on the force in Appleton, with a total of 35 years combined experience, find strength in each other, because there aren’t too many other women who work in law enforcement.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, women account for about 18 percent of the state’s total law enforcement workforce. But there’s been a gradual increase of interest by women entering law enforcement over the last four decades, said Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.

According to the Post-Crescent, 

“Women have shown time and time again that they’re just as capable as men in performing law enforcement functions and fulfilling that duty,” Palmer said. “It’s a dangerous job, obviously, but I think the fact there is such a difference between the number of men versus women in this profession is — that’s tough.”

For women in fire prevention, the statistics are even more dismal. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 1,134,400 career and volunteer firefighters in the U.S. in 2014, 7.3 percent of which were women.

The Fox Cities is home to only a handful of female firefighters. Kevin Kloehn, fire chief of Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue, said more can be done to attract female candidates, especially in high schools.

“I think that’s where a lot of indecision is made about the fire service,” he said. “I’m very certain that there’s this thing that probably runs through potential female candidates — that when I join the fire department, it’s going to be a male-dominated job.”

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