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Progression des femmes et mixité dans les services correctionnels au Québec : des transformations possibles ?

Progression des femmes et mixité dans les services correctionnels au Québec : des transformations possibles ?

Sophie Brière, Antoine Pellerin, Anne-Marie Laflamme et Julie Maude Laflamme

Volume : 75-1 (2020)


This article examines career progression among female correctional service officers and, more specifically, the factors that influence their retention and advancement. Although studies exploring the reality of women exercising this occupation have shown that a male culture and deeply-rooted gender role stereotypes prevail in detention facilities, the advancement of female correctional service officers in Quebec has been very significant since the early 1990s and their job retention rate is excellent. This research seeks to find out whether this progression is based only on women’s ability to adapt to a traditionally male work environment or whether there has been real change in the work environment, human resource management and work processes. We have thus sought to understand this advancement and retention and their impact at the organizational level.

In order to understand how women have progressed so significantly in the Quebec context, several theoretical approaches have been mobilized in a convergent way, such as approaches to gender mixing in the workplace, feminist theories, institutional theory and the theory of change. To this end, semi-structured interviews were conducted with male and female correctional service officers and managers working in Quebec detention facilities. The results reveal that women’s advancement in correctional services has led to an increasing gender mix at work and has had a significant impact in the workplace. Since work teams include both men and women and, with the exception of strip searches, the tasks entrusted to staff members are identical and not based on gender, women are perceived as an integral part of the organization. Moreover, important transformations and changes were found at all organizational pillars and a shift in organizational culture was observed. Lastly, our study also identified some issues that continue to pose obstacles to the advancement and retention of female correctional service officers.

Keywords: workplace gender mix, approach to equality, women, correctional services, diversity.