• The imbalance of men to women in positions of power confirms the extent to which the field of criminal justice is gendered – the reality is that the administration and delivery of criminal justice remains firmly within the remit of (white) men.
  • Gender matters significantly to the experiences of those who come into contact with the criminal justice system – both in relation to women and men as offenders and/or victims. It also matters to the way in which criminal justice work is imagined, enacted and experienced by the criminal justice workforce.
  • The need for greater diversity (and increased gender representation) within organizations is now well established. The rationale within the police service and the legal profession for the appointment of more women tends to be located within the ‘business case’ or that of ‘making a difference’ rather than a position of ‘social justice’.
  • While we provide much evidence to suggest that women can and do make a difference to the administration of criminal justice (research shows that women make a positive difference to the way in which they undertake policing with those who come into contact with the criminal justice system and a gender-aware judiciary has also been seen to make a difference to sentencing outcomes through the feminist judgement project), we argue that calling for more women through such a rationale is a fundamentally flawed position from which to achieve greater diversity. Rather, we argue that more women should be recruited on the grounds of ‘social justice’ – that it is a fundamental human right to be able to work free from discrimination.
  • We draw on Acker’s gendered organization theory to explain the gendered nature of criminal justice work, the disjuncture between policy and practice, organizational structures and culture and the ongoing lack of women working in the police service and the legal system. Through such an analysis, we argue that criminal justice work is deeply gendered at structural, cultural and individual levels and operates with a conception of an ‘ideal worker’.