Women in Law Enforcement in the ASEAN Region

October 17, 2020

By Lucy Hall

In the ASEAN region – consisting of Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia,Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – female policing is comparatively low in contrast to the remaining world states. The number of women in senior positions also remain low and fairly rare. The limited number of women in law enforcement can be attributed to certain barriers, acting as a blockade to enhanced participation. For instance, female law enforcement officers in the ASEAN region have spoken about the challenges they have faced. These barriers include strength, physical size, gender stereotypes and norms, which stand to limit female participation in certain professional domains. Unfortunately, these barriers are not only restricted to the ASEAN region, but are prevalent in many other states globally. Despite these challenges, women in the ASEAN have seen some progress, with increased training for women and the inclusion of women in a broader range of roles and specialist task forces.

The report, compiled by UNDOC, Interpol and UN Women, outlines the many ways in which women are positively contributing to law enforcement, such as fostering community trust, increasing legitimacy of law enforcement and improving  responses to gender and sexual based crimes. The report additionally details the challenges encountered by women, which were briefly outlined above, and also provides recommendations for increased female participation in law enforcement.

The complete report can be accessed here: https://asiapacific.unwomen.org/-/media/field%20office%20eseasia/docs/publications/2020/08/women%20in%20law%20enforcement%20in%20the%20asean%20region%20full.pdf?la=en&vs=332

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