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Forensic science and gendered organizations: an exploratory study of crime scene examiners

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 23:56 authored by Marshall, HB, Roberta JulianRoberta Julian, Loene HowesLoene Howes
Crime scene examination is uniquely positioned at the nexus of policing and forensic science. Although women are under-represented in policing organizations and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers, they are reportedly well-represented in certain forensic disciplines. As a forensic discipline located within policing organizations, crime scene examination offers an interesting case study for an exploration of gender in the organizational context. In this exploratory study, in-depth interviews were undertaken with five male and four female crime scene examiners (CSEs) from two Australian policing organizations. Participants provided insights on various aspects of their work. Gender differences were evident in nuanced ways in some of these aspects. Female CSEs reported the importance of rank in circumventing differential treatment by colleagues outside the crime scene team. The uptake of part-time and flexible work arrangements differed in ways that reflect broader social trends, with negative impacts on careers borne by women with caring responsibilities. The findings highlight the gendered nature of organizations. Although some important steps have been made, gender equity is yet to be achieved. The article contributes to understanding the complexity of CSEs’ role and the impacts of gendered organizations. It identifies areas in need of further research.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences




School of Social Sciences


Taylor & Francis

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2021 Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Law enforcement; Professions and professionalisation

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