Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication (MA)

Committee Chair

Gonzalez, Ariadne A.


This study aims to explore the work-life challenges that women face in male-dominated professions, specifically in the criminal justice system. The purpose of this study is to analyze the work-life challenges women face while working in the criminal justice system, a traditionally male-dominated field. Amidst the myriad of challenges, women bring a unique face to policing and other professions within law enforcement and legal professions; understanding women’s work experiences and how they articulate and implement strategies to manage the varying challenges is critical in evaluating women’s position within the law enforcement culture and the pulse of the legal profession. Employing a qualitative methodology and a thematic analysis to provide a richer understanding of women’s experiences at work, I conducted 13 semi-structured and in-depth interviews of women employed in various positions and professions within the criminal justice field. Organizational communication theories were applied through this research to discover the gender and occupational roles women were identifying with in terms of work-life challenges. Women working these traditionally male-dominated roles were faced with having to continuously prove themselves while acquiring thick skin, juggling multiple identities and dealing with over committing at work. This study revealed women’s communication skills of verbal judo, implementing supportive relationships and allowing an open and honest dialogue with their children were vital components and strategies in managing a work-life balance. Despite a myriad of work-life challenges confronted throughout their career in male-dominated fields, these women went beyond the call of duty in the pursuit of a work-life balance.