'We Have to Prove We Are Not Just Women': Women in Criminal Justice in Papua New Guinea

Cyndi Banks, Northern Arizona University

A considerable amount of research has been conducted in the West to examine gender relations within the criminal justice workplace. Little or no research has been produced concernng the complex position of women in developing countries who choose a career within the criminal justice system. Research was conducted with the aim of exploring gender in the criminal justice system in the South Pacific country of Papua New Guinea through interviews with women police officers, women correctional officers, women magistrates, women lawyers and women probation officers. The research is located within and contrasted with western discourses of gender relations in criminal justice systems in the United States and England and elaborated within the specificity of the general Melanesian discourse on gender. Themes and issues which emerge include the notion that the women believe they need to exceed gender boundaries in order to succeed as professionals, but that they are nevertheless convinced of their greater competence in their work.

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Updated 05/20/2006