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The socio-political context in the 1980s and 1990s was overshadowed by talks preceding the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Future of Hong Kong, and the “transition” that led to the transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China in 1997. This chapter looks at policing needs arising out of this and other changes, and the ensuing manpower squeeze on the HKP. During this period the first cohort of policewomen to have benefited from the lifting of the marriage bar began to take up senior positions and acted as spokespersons for women police. Their rhetoric continued to emphasise equality between the sexes in the Force, but has shifted towards a discourse of equal value, and a downplaying of gender differences in leadership roles. As a result of the equal pay policy, the expansion of women’s deployment continued, although their roles in these units were still sex-typed. Official discourse qualified their achievements either as exceptions resulting from hard work or the feminine advantage that they brought to the job. At the same time, policewomen’s roles as specialists in dealing with women and children had not changed. The factors leading up to the decision to arm policewomen are discussed. However, there was no sign that senior commanders at the time were seriously considering the option to arm women. Once the decision was made, a wave of official discourse began to promote policewomen’s ability to handle firearms and anti-riot tasks. However, celebrations of women’s physical and technical prowess continue to appear alongside emphasis on their feminine qualities, including empathy, sensitivity and beauty.
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- Continuity and Change Through the 1980s and 1990s
Annie Hau-Nung Chan
Lawrence Ka-Ki Ho
- Palgrave Macmillan UK