Why women?

WW1 vastly changed the role of women in the Australian workforce and around the world. By 1914 there were reports in Tasmanian newspapers of women playing an active role in policing in Britain.

The Tasmanian National Council of Women, led by the inimitable Emily Dobson, campaigned for the introduction of women police officers.

She said the appointment of a woman police officer would be a “step in the right direction” in recognition of the principle that “women should deal with women and children”.

Supporting the introduction of women

In 1917, Tasmania’s Attorney-General William Propsting supported the appointment of women police officers to influence first time female offenders. This followed the success of women police
officers in other states.

Mr Propsting was keen for young women and girls to have the opportunity for advice and support from women police. He suggested that women police had been of great assistance in other states in dealing with offences and complaints relating to women.

“A number of girls lacking or defying parental control had been induced to return home… through the influence of these women,” he said.