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Women in Policing: Breaking Barriers and Blazing a Path

NCJ Number
Rianna P. Starheim
Date Published
July 2019
44 pages
This is a report on the proceedings of the December 2018 Research Summit on Women in Policing, which was hosted by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) with the goal of understanding the current state of research relevant to women in American policing, as well as to produce a research agenda to explore what women leaders in policing have identified as priorities in moving the profession toward parity, defined as "when fair and equal access is equivalent to women's propensity."
This report documents the current state of research on women in policing in the areas of culture, performance, recruitment and retention, and promotion, along with an agenda of research topics prioritized by summit attendees. Nearly 100 summit participants included sworn and civilian law enforcement officers serving in the United States and abroad, leading policing researchers, representatives from professional organizations and foundations, and federal partners. Among the promising practices and next steps identified by participants are support for mentoring and sponsorship by law enforcement leaders to foster success and career tracks for women officers; the creation of flexible, family-friendly policies, such as parental leave and non-rotating shift schedules; improvement in and enforcement of harassment policies; the enlistment of police chiefs, male officers, mayors, and civic leaders in the promotion of gender parity for law enforcement personnel; a re-examination of physical fitness standards for officers; more support for women in police academy training; and learning from research in other fields. 19 notes and a listing of summit attendees