Liberia's Gender-Sensitive Police Reform
Improving Representation and Responsiveness in a Post-Conflict Setting
This article presents a case study from Liberia that focuses on the relationship between police reform and women, peace and security. It explores the Liberia National Police's (LNP) innovative efforts between 2003 and 2013 to recruit more female officers and to train a specialized unit to address sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV). The analysis focuses on two key goals of the LNP: representation, through the Education Support Programme, and responsiveness, through the Women and Children's Protection Section. Assessed by these two metrics, the Liberian police reform can be considered a qualified success, as the percentage of female officers rose from 2 to 17 per cent, and the LNP improved its response to SGBV reports. Success factors included the timing, context, local ownership and foreign development assistance. However, the sustainability and overall impact of the reforms was severely hindered by low technical capacity and weak rule of law.