The week before, Time Magazine shared some of the most well-known Personal Brands, the profiles of the 100 most influential people. Jeff Bezos graces the cover, and every person on the cover is a famous or political figure. The piece about each individual is written by an influencer of another. For instance, Melinda Gate’s profile was composed by Sheryl Sandberg. She says Melinda is a ‘ferocious advocate for women across the globe and says that her influence will last for generations.
The publication is undoubtedly inspirational; however, the issue for women, in particular, is that we often look at celebrities like this and wonder, “what can I contribute? What can I do to make such an impact?
When I hear women talk about this, my mind is drawn to a confident woman named Lillian Armfield.
Lillian Armfield was born on 3 December 1884 in Mittagong, New South Wales. She was the mother of George Armfield, a laborer, as well as the wife of Elizabeth. She was educated locally, was extremely intelligent, well educated, and was said to have a solid number-seeking brain.
Prior to her time
In 1907, she was appointed an assistant nurse in the Hospital for the Insane, Callan Park, Sydney, in which she cared for female prisoners. Because of her professionalism and caring for patients in 1915, the medical superintendent suggested that she be considered for a post that was newly created. This was a position as an officer recruit for the NSW police force. There were female police officers available in Australia; however, this minor obstacle didn’t stop her from applying. She believed she was ideal for a job on the frontline.
Lillian was successful with her application and, in her first job, was compensated the sum of 7 shillings or sixpence per day. Contrary to male colleagues, the contract stipulated that uniforms would not be provided and that there was no allowance for overtime or expense to be paid.
After one year of probation, she was appointed an extra constable. However, her promotion was accompanied by one condition. What would be awe-inspiring in today’s world of work, Lillian was required to sign an agreement with the inspector general of police. She was then under similar rules as well as regulations like her male colleagues. But, she was not entitled to compensation for any injuries sustained in the course of the duties she was assigned. Alongside this precise unfair treatment, Lillian was also required to give up her rights to superannuation as well as pension benefits after retirement.
Interest in the Overseas market
The trial of the appointment of Lillian Armfield was watched with a lot of attention from around the world. Armfield was the first female plain-clothes detective to be given the same power of arrest and working alongside her male counterparts. This was so out of the ordinary for a female policewoman that it was a subject of international attention.
In Paris, the captain of the French police stated that policewomen would be the focus of jeers. This resulted in the following jingle being played in a Sydney newspaper:
“In gay Paree, there are no police officers to be seen wearing skirts
For France, she prefers her Mademoiselles to be feminine, attractive flirts.
There’s no Sergeant Armfield is there all the time roaming,
The French will sneer at female police officers. They would be a bit jealous of their daughters at home.
Oh, ma Cherie How sad it would be If Suzannes or Suzettes.
Coiffures that have been tossed out, chic and discarded silks and scented cigarettes
They began raiding restaurants and following thieves and crooks.
Don’t worry about what people might wear or cook.”
Despite the criticism, the police of a variety of American states demanded detailed accounts of the experiments of women being plain-clothed police officers. Scotland Yard rebuked any idea that women were dressed in plain clothes as detectives. They didn’t exclude them from working in uniform.
The main goal of Lillian’s mission was always to return to society the girls and women who had resorted to criminality or fell into the wrong group. A large portion of her time was spent tracking down runaway girls and urging them girls to return home prior to serious risk. She was also frequently involved in cases that involved murder or sexual assault, theft, and prostitution, as well as drug-running—all the crime scenes.
While her contributions were lauded and recognized by the authorities, her advancement throughout her career of 34 years was slow. As of 1 November 1923, Lillian was promoted to special sergeant of 3rd class. At the time of 1 January 1943, she had been promoted into 1st class. In 1947, she was awarded The King’s Fire and Police Service Medal for outstanding service. Following her retirement on December 2nd, 1949, she was 65 years old. She was presented with the Imperial Service Medal in recognition of her service and contribution to the community.
“She was the first; she was a trailblazer for today’s policewoman.” Her funeral was attended by the NSW Police Commissioner, Mr. N. T. W. Allan spoke in her wake.
What makes this tale so personal to me is the fact that Lillian Armfield is my great Aunt. The story of her life and pioneering achievements as the country’s first policewoman is one that will not be forgotten by my family. The group is comprised of five members currently working in various police posts throughout Australia.
As the third daughter of my parents, I am able to say her story of her is one that has always impressed my sisters and me in our careers. Whatever our career paths have taken us, we’ve tried to maintain a balance between compassion, courage, and kindness to help our clients and keep their best interests in mind.
In order to be an influencer, you don’t need to be featured included in Time Magazine or have thousands of followers on social media. It’s not about you at all. What matters is the people you influence and what influence you have.