Research on the Dearth of Women in Law Enforcement

Women in Policing, Breaking Barriers and Blazing a Path (Full report PDF)

Women constitute less than 13% of total officers and a much smaller proportion of leadership positions.2 There is limited empirical research on how to increase the number of women in policing, improve the recruitment of outstanding women, and increase the retention and promotion of exceptional women officers. There is also insufficient research for understanding the unique challenges that women officers face and how best to mitigate or overcome these challenges

Research Agenda

The attendees at the Research Summit on Women in Policing identified key research questions, divided into the following themes:

  • Charting a Course,
  • Culture,
  • Performance,
  • Recruitment and Retention, and
  • Promotion.

Answers to these research questions will help law enforcement agencies and researchers build a knowledge base to better understand the state of women in policing, the barriers that women in policing face, and effective changes that can be made to improve the representation and experiences of women in policing. The following themes are not in priority order; rather, they reflect the order of discussion at the summit.

This report compiles the responses of attendees at the summit to these questions.  Download the report.