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The experience of combining motherhood with career for members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Goodwin, Shelley L.

Abstract

While women have been police officers for over 100 years, women were not permitted into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) until 1974. Past research focused on women's abilities to perform policing duties. As a result there is minimal research available which focuses on how women police officers combine their policing career and motherhood roles. This phenomenological study was conducted to explore the experiences of six female regular members of the RCMP who have combined career and motherhood roles. Using Colaizzi's (1978) method of phenomenological analysis was used to analyze the transcriptions of the indepth, tape-recorded interviews. Results of the analysis yielded five themes: 1) perceived need to prove themselves again in the Force; 2) sense of isolation; 3) sense of shift of priorities; 4) sense of restricted choices and opportunities; and 5) struggle to redefine self. Validation interviews were conducted to ensure the themes accurately reflected the womens' experiences of combining their career and motherhood roles. Implications for future research are discussed and suggestions for counselling female members of the RCMP who are combining career and motherhood roles are suggested.

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