This paper reflects on the latent organisational process that leads tothe scarcity of women in senior positions. Utilising characteristics of legitimisation, institutionalisation and self-determination theories the paper observes how women manage upward mobility. Subsequently, it was important to investigate the mid-level cohorts, as there lies the critical question triggering the anomaly. Focusing on the public sector with an interest in gendered organisations, the study examines law enforcement. Conversely, the aim of this paper is to focus on why there is a continued dearth in the number of policewomen at top level positions in USA and Australia. A qualitative study with a phenomenological approach is applied. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with 40 policewomen in mid-management positions in American and Australian law enforcement. It further aims to explore the linkages of the ongoing paucity of gendered leadership in organisations, questioning how these will influence women's ability to advance to higher-level positions.


mid-level leadership, career progression, gendered organization, leader identity, self-determination

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