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Tool 2: Policing and Gender

27 February, 2020



This Tool is part of the DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women Gender and Security Toolkit.

Many police services remain underequipped to respond to the diverse safety and security needs within the different communities they serve. Too often, marginalized groups, including women, children, LGBTI people, and persons belonging to ethnic or religious minorities, experience poor service or neglect at the hands of police services meant to protect them.

Achieving gender equality in and through policing is not simply about adding more women. It is about transforming the power relations that sustain inequality and gender-based violence. It is about protecting the human rights of all people and enabling their full contribution to public life.

The Tool sets out a vision for gender-responsive policing wherein:

  • Policing provision is service-oriented and focused on crime prevention in partnership with communities in all their diversity.

  • Crimes against all people are treated seriously as core police work and dealt with sensitively, in co-ordination with other support services.

  • Police services are diverse, with women featuring prominently.

  • Police organizational culture and management value diversity, equality and inclusion and model positive masculinities. 

  • Strong, effective, independent oversight of the police is welcomed. 

Drawing on experience and evidence from multiple contexts, the Tool highlights ways in which police services can:

  • Become more diverse and representative

  • Respond better to gendered security needs 

  • Help to change societal expectations and biases about gender.

It presents case studies from around the world plus an institutional self-assessment checklist. 


Megan Bastick, DCAF