On March 3, 2017, the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), hosted a regional conference entitled “Female Law Enforcement Officials in the Northern Triangle” at the International Law Enforcement Agency (ILEA) in El Salvador to train female officers on gender equality and equity, strengthening the role of women as law enforcement and helping to fight crimes against women.
The conference was opened with speeches by U.S. Ambassador, Jean Elizabeth Manes; the Director of the National Civilian Police (PNC), Howard Cotto; and the Chief of the PNC’s Gender Unit, Blanca Henríquez.
Ambassador Manes told the group, “Like you, I am a woman who is fulfilling a role that was traditionally carried out by men, I am proud to reach out to this group of pioneering women who are opening a breach and raising standards for all. You are part of the region’s most valuable women.” She noted that with International Women’s Day being celebrated on March 8th, this event held a special significance.
PNC Director Howard Cotto said that the participation of women in the PNC is currently low. “It is barely 14.6% of the level of participation, that is, 14 out of 100 in training activities are women. We want the participation of women in our institution to be stronger and stronger.”
During the three-day conference participants discussed issues such as domestic and gender violence, women’s leadership in law enforcement, and maintaining a work-life balance. The guest speakers provided some insights into best practices and facilitated an exchange of experiences among women who represented 48 law enforcement personnel from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.