2023 Theme: Women in policing

The first UN International Day of Police Cooperation embraces gender diversity.

Emphasizing the link between gender diversity and an inclusive workplace, the theme for the inaugural UN International Day of Police Cooperation in 2023 is ‘Women in Policing.’

Modern policing needs to reflect the communities it serves. This includes promoting a more gender-sensitive workplace which is free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

Policing is traditionally a male-dominated profession, and female law enforcement officers face challenges ranging from opportunities to reach leadership positions to cultural biases and gender stereotypes.

Over the past decades, more and more women have chosen law enforcement as a career. As work environments and skills evolve, female officers are aiming higher in terms of their career aspirations and are taking on a wider range of roles and responsibilities.  

While significant progress has been made, further action is required if we are to move closer to gender parity in law enforcement.

Globally, law enforcement agencies have recognized the need to increase diversity across all areas of policing and are working to attract and retain female talent. They are putting in place policies and structures that support women’s recruitment and deployment across a wide spectrum of roles.

What can be done

We consider this day as an occasion to demonstrate that positive change can be achieved through collective action.

Governments, businesses and international organizations all have a role to play in removing obstacles and improving the representation and experiences of women in policing.

This International Day of Police Cooperation, 7 September 2023 we are calling for:

  • Capacity building training to address the challenges faced by women in policing and promote strategies for gender inclusion;
  • Strengthening mentoring programmes to support diverse future generations of police leaders;
  • Carrying out awareness campaigns to address gender-based violence;
  • Seminars and workshops to empower female law enforcement leaders in our member countries;
  • Drafting reports to highlight women’s contribution to policing and barriers to participation.

A diverse workplace in policing

An inclusive law enforcement workforce, particularly at the leadership level, has clear benefits from effective problem solving and sharing different perspectives to an enhanced use of communication in conflict resolution.

Most importantly, women in senior positions inspire others to follow and encourage young women contemplating their choice of career to consider joining the police.

Our 2023 compendium ‘Policing with a gender perspective’ is a collection of case studies from more than 50 countries that reflect on global efforts towards greater gender inclusivity.

From specific training courses to programmes addressing gender-based violence and awareness campaigns, countries have shown the various solutions to ensuring higher female representation.

Achieving gender equality in policing is not simply about adding more women. Rather, it is about transforming institutions, respecting the human rights of all people, and creating a work environment where all employees feel valued and meaningfully engaged – INTERPOL UN Report 2020 (Women in Law Enforcement in the ASEAN Region).