Last night I was watching an episode of the old TV Show Dragnet, it was about the LAPD’s program for women police officers. I guess from 1902 to the 1970’s women were trained separately from the men and their main job was to be the desk officers at the stations, leaving “The more hazardous field work to the men” said Jack Webb at the end of the episode. I guess we should at least give LAPD credit for hiring women since the turn of the 20th century. One of the women characters was asked why she wanted to be a police officer and her response was roughly something about it being either a police officer or a secretary and being a police officer offered advancement. The show went on about the girl’s personal life, her boyfriend didn’t want her to be a cop, not because it was ‘dangerous’ because remember she would be working in the office her job wasn’t as hazardous as the men’s jobs. He didn’t want her to be a cop because back then people didn’t like the Police, they were considered bullies with a badge and gun.
So at least two things have changed since the middle of the 20th century. Society’s perception of police officers and women’s job opportunities. It always amuses me to watch classic TV and see how women are portrayed back then by Hollywood and even society because those mores of a woman only being able to have one or two jobs didn’t come out of no where for those television writers and producers it came from what was going on around them. I am grateful to all the women who marched in the 60’s and 70’s demanding equal rights for women. It gave me the chance to be something else besides a teacher, secretary or a mom. I am also in debt to all women suffragists who marched a century ago to demand we have the right to vote. In just a few years we women will be celebrating the centennial of the passing of the 19th amendment.