Hiring and Retaining More Women: The Advantage to Law Enforcement Agencies

Authored by: Kim Lonsway, Margaret Moore, Penny Harrington, et al.

Categories: Conflict Prevention
Sub-Categories: Security Sector Reform (SSR)
Region: No Region
Year: 2003
Citation: Lonsway, Kim, Margaret Moore, Penny Harrington, et al. Hiring and Retaining More Women: The Advantages to Law Enforcement Agencies. Beverly Hills, CA: National Center for Women & Policing, 2003.

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Hiring and retaining more women provides numerous important advantages to law enforcement agencies. Research conducted in the United States and internationally has clearly documented that following facts: (1) female officers are as competent as their male counterparts and even excel in certain areas of police performance; (2) female officers are less likely to use excessive force; (3) female officers are more likely to implement “community-oriented policing”; (4) more female officers will improve law enforcement’s response to violence against women; (5) increasing the presence of female officers reduces problems of sex discrimination and harassment within a law enforcement agency; and (6) the presence of women can bring about beneficial changers in policy for all officers. Although a number of studies document police officers’ and community members’ concern that women are not strong enough or aggressive enough for police work, physical strength has not been shown to predict general police effectiveness or ability to handle dangerous situations successfully. Research and practical experience alike provide every reason to believe that hiring and retaining more women in law enforcement will yield benefits not only to women within the police profession but also to their male counterparts, the larger police organization, and the communities in which they serve.