"Wolves guarding sheep": how women police in London and Cape Town brokered a deal to protect and control women, 1914-1918

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department History
Author Laird, Katie
Title "Wolves guarding sheep": how women police in London and Cape Town brokered a deal to protect and control women, 1914-1918
Date 2016
Description At the outbreak of World War I, women in Britain and South Africa formed groups of volunteer police women who patrolled the streets for indecent behavior, found homes for runaway children, and encouraged moral behavior of young women and girls. Despite their success at penetrating one of the most male-dominated professions, historians almost unanimously regard the movement as a betrayal of feminist values and goals. A careful reading of contemporary sources, however, reveals that the women police were attempting to work within the system to better the lives of females. With the movement headed by social purity feminists, a group now largely decried as antifeminist for their conservative and protectionist agendas, the approach was rather to protect women from the full impact of sexist laws, as opposed to actually changing those laws. These women saw the prevention of immoral behavior as not simply an imposition of conservative middle class values, but an expedient measure to protect females from a justice system whose very structure was designed to find them guilty. Feminists tend to discount social purists' impact on the modern feminist movement, but the transnational presence of the women police, as shown by this thesis' study of the Cape Town group, reminds scholars that the feminist movement has always been riddled with ambivalence and dilemmas. This thesis demonstrates that the social purity movement was a force to be reckoned with, and succeeded where suffragists had failed in opening the door to women in law enforcement.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Police; women police; policewomen; women's movement; suffrage; britain; social purists
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management ©Katie Laird
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 727,629 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/4233
ARK ark:/87278/s6fr34zg
Setname ir_etd
ID 197778
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6fr34zg