The Museum of Policing in Devon and Cornwall marks International Women’s Day

The Museum of Policing in Devon and Cornwall has taken the opportunity to look back at how women have played a key role in the police.

This year’s International Women’s Day and the events that followed (re)ignited discussions around the dynamics of gender in the 21st century and in particular how women experience the world.

Looking back through our archives, the absence of women, or their othering – being singled out for specifically demarcated female roles – in many ways highlights today’s advancements in closing the gender gap. But there is a way to go, still, and perhaps the events of this month reflect just how much more is needed, and how little the world has travelled towards achieving true equality.

When looking back at how women were involved in the police in Devon and Cornwall, our recent work on the Plymouth Blitz 80th Anniversary focused on an account of Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps (WAPC) Winifred Hooper – where you can find an account of her experiences during the Plymouth Blitz.

What her story highlights is the mutuality of experiences irrespective of gender, in that what she witnessed was no less or no more than a man may have witnessed, but that her war effort role was not remunerated, respected or provided with the same opportunities extended to men at the same time, in equivalent police roles.

While this story is from the archives of history, pay gaps, opportunities for career development and even the entrenchment of mutual respect for women in the workplace is still lacking across almost every single industry, indicating once again the significance of history in informing today’s reality.

We stand in solidarity and celebration of women everywhere, and are committed to championing the incredible women through history who have for so long gone unserved by history’s annals.