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National Center for Women & Policing

A Program of the Feminist Majority Foundation

A program of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Center for Women & Policing (NCWP), promotes increasing the numbers of women at all ranks of law enforcement as a strategy to improve police response to violence against women, reduce police brutality and excessive force, and strengthen community policing reforms.

Twenty years of exhaustive research demonstrates that women police officers utilize a style of policing that relies less on physical force, and more on communication skills that defuse potentially violent situations. Women police officers are therefore much less likely to be involved in occurrences of police brutality, and are also much more likely to effectively respond to police calls regarding violence against women, which today remain the single largest category of calls to police agencies nationwide.

Yet despite this compelling research, women are severely under-represented in police departments, accounting for only 13.0% of police officers across the country, according to our latest survey on the status of women in law enforcement. The numbers of women in law enforcement are kept artificially low by widespread discriminatory hiring and selection practices. Keeping women out of policing is not only depriving women of jobs, but is resulting in more police brutality.

The National Center for Women & Policing has been working since 1995 to educate criminal justice policy makers, the media and the public about the impacts of increasing the representation of women in policing. Our goals include ensuring that gender is always considered during the analysis of contemporary policing issues, and that law enforcement agencies strive for gender balancing their departments.



Penny Harrington, the former Chief of the Portland Police Bureau and the first woman chief of a major U.S. city, founded the National Center for Women & Policing with Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, in 1995. Harrington had been instrumental in identifying and developing strategies to remove the obstacles to hiring more women in law enforcement, especially in Portland and Los Angeles. She served as the Director of the NCWP until 2001, and remains an adviser to the program.

Margaret Moore , the former Assistant Director of the NCWP, and the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, was appointed as the new Director of the NCWP in 2002 and served until 2012. She continues her work as an adviser to the program.


We produce and disseminate original research on issues relevant to women in the field of law enforcement. Our publications and reports are the most authoritative available and in frequent demand by the news media and criminal justice policymakers and researchers.


We provide extensive materials to law enforcement agencies seeking to increase the representation of women within their ranks.



How to Contact Us:

The National Center for Women & Policing
433 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Voice: 310.556.2500
fax: 310.556.2509
e-mail: womencops@feminist.org



Arlington, VA office:
1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 801
Arlington, VA 22209
Voice: 703.522.2214
fax: 703.522.2219

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Copyright 2001-2013 Feminist Majority Foundation's National Center for Women and Policing