Promoting Women in Law Enforcement

Photo: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng

When women participate in law enforcement, at all levels and in all roles, law enforcement is more responsive to, and reflective of, the community it serves. The meaningful participation of women in law enforcement increases operation effectiveness, enhances community trust, and decreases corruption. Nevertheless, women remain chronically underrepresented in law enforcement across Asia and the Pacific.  

UN Women and UNODC have joined forces to support women in law enforcement, with a focus on women in law enforcement at boarder transit points to combat trafficking in women and girls, since 2018. Building on this, UN Women and UNODC have partnered with INTERPOL to undertake groundbreaking research on Women in Law Enforcement in the ASEAN Region, with the generous support of the Government of Canada.  

Report: Women in Law Enforcement in the ASEAN Region


Research on Women in Law Enforcement in the ASEAN Region, by UN Women, UNODC and INTERPOL, has highlighted that women make an essential contribution to law enforcement in the ASEAN region, including increasing overall operational effectiveness, improving law enforcement responses to sexual and gender-based crimes, and enhancing perceptions of the legitimacy of law enforcement institutions, despite being underrepresented in law enforcement.  

The Report, to be launched on 26 August, explores the experiences and views of women police officers from across the ASEAN region to further understand opportunities and obstacles for women police officers. The Report provides a snapshot of the current state of affairs with regards to the recruitment, training, deployment and promotion of women police officers, and analyses policies and practices that support or hinder the participation of women in law enforcement.  

The Report offers a series of recommendations aimed at supporting collaboration among ASEAN Member States, key stakeholders, and partners, to adopt and implement gender-inclusive policies and practices that accelerate women’s meaningful participation in law enforcement, and, increase the gender-responsiveness of law enforcement agencies. 

The Full Report, as well as a summary, and an animated video highlighting key findings, the recorded webinar of the launch and the press release are available through the links below:

Community Engagement, Promoting Women in Law Enforcement

Using a multidisciplinary approach to increase awareness of the importance of women in law enforcement in the ASEAN region, support community engagement, and facilitating discussion on the topic, UN Women, UNODC and INTERPOL, have worked with visual artists to create engaging content to highlight the positive impact of women in law enforcement. 

Photo Essay and Exhibition  

Photo: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng
Photo: UN Women-UNODC/Ploy Phutpheng
Photo: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng

Throughout the project, women law enforcement professionals and their work have been documented.The photographs highlight the diversity of roles and responsibilities undertaken by women in law enforcement in the ASEAN region, as well as their engagement with the communities they serve. We invite you to a journey through our joint photo exposure.

In addition, selected photographs will be exhibited at Alliance Francaise, Bangkok, from 28 August 2021 until 21 September 2020.  

 The police force is very unique, it is not like the army where they serve the nation. Police serve the community. And the best way to serve the community is to reflect your community. So if your community is 50-50 then your force must also be 50-50. For our investigation officers, how would we do it if we did not have females? How would we be able to address female concerns if we didn’t have female officers? How would we train our recruits if we do not have female teachers?”

— Woman Police Officer, Brunei


See also

Posters on the role of law enforcement to protect women and children during a public health crisis including COVID 19 developed jointly with UNODC and UNICEF available in