Published On: 7 April 2024Categories: News

Dear Member,

As part of the #sheisipa project, Karen Duckworth – Project Lead, speaks about the recent ‘Gender World Congress for Women Police Officers’ which took place in Montenegro from 25-28 March 2024.


“Montenegro – why go all that way to talk about #sheisipa, a brand new IEB project?” I am sure that is a question being asked. The opportunity to represent the International Police Association at this event was an honour, first and foremost. Secondly, the audience included senior policewomen from over 24 countries, with keynote speakers from Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime; Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); Austrian Criminal Intelligence Service; State Secretary for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Montenegro; European Network of Policewomen.

The purpose of the conference was to explore activity taking place at NGO and national force level to reduce violence against women and girls, as well as initiatives to progress equality and fairness for women, whether as victims of transnational crime, or within policing itself. Delegates each gave a presentation about their own national force or agency. Themes emerged across presentations, including 1. the pace of change at national policy level, 2. the pace of culture change where policies were in place, and 3. the need to create opportunities for women in policing to thrive. Many of the delegates in the room, as well as being part of national women in policing networks in their country, were members of the IPA. Indeed, the conference itself was hosted by Mrs Biljana Dulovic, President of the Association of Policewomen in Montenegro, and also President of IPA Section Montenegro (one of only two female presidents across the 68 member countries). Many delegates, however, were not IPA members.

The thing the IPA does best is creating opportunity (in whatever context that may be). Whilst presentations considered national challenges, I was delighted to able to speak directly to delegates as individuals and share what the IPA can do for them at that level. What opportunities are there for individuals to develop professionally through the connectivity and networks afforded by IPA membership. The determination and drive of individuals pushing for opportunities to demonstrate skills and capability is what ultimately will put them in the positions where they can influence policy that will eventually change culture. As one officer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a veteran of two United Nations policing missions and now on secondment to OSCE put it – “culture will eat strategy for breakfast”.

Indeed, walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. The event was fascinating and gave the IPA a chance through #sheisipa to reach out to existing members who are part of larger in-country networks, as well as women who were hearing about it for the first time. All of it was extremely positive and worthwhile, and it was an unexpected delight to see one of the countries present, Moldova, using #sheisipa material in their presentation. And that is how IPA visibility spreads. And that is how the IPA grows. And that is why it was worth going all that way to Montenegro to talk about #sheisipa.”


Karen Duckworth

Vice President Social and Culture/IBZ Gimborn Lead

International Police Association Section UK

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