Building an inclusive workforce: an intervention to empower women police in India

Last registered on June 24, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Building an inclusive workforce: an intervention to empower women police in India
Initial registration date
June 04, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 24, 2024, 12:11 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Virginia
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
University of Virginia

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Women worldwide face hurdles integrating into male-dominated professions, be it finance, technology, economics, or politics. Difficult work environments might prevent women from advancing in such workplaces, or even drop out. These problems are exacerbated in India, where women’s labor force participation rates are abysmally low to begin with (~20%), and even lower in professions like the police (~10%). Though the police constable position is considered to be an attractive job, many women drop out at various stages of the recruitment process, as well as after starting their first posting. Yet women’s role in the police is critical, as shown in multiple studies. In partnership with the Madhya Pradesh state police, we evaluate interventions designed to mitigate female constables’ social and professional isolation in a male-dominated work environment, and ideally improve retention and advancement. Using a mixed-methods approach – combining qualitative fieldwork, surveys, and randomized evaluation – we study the impacts of providing mentorship or peer support to new women recruits during their first posting.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bernhardt, Arielle et al. 2024. "Building an inclusive workforce: an intervention to empower women police in India." AEA RCT Registry. June 24.
Experimental Details


We evaluate two interventions designed to strengthen new women constables’ social and professional networks: (1) mentorship from a senior woman in the police force and (2) support via the presence of a same-gender peer.

The interventions are timed to coincide with the posting of new female and male constable recruits across police stations in Madhya Pradesh. New female recruits who are assigned to the mentorship program will be paired with a higher-rank woman officer at their police station with whom they will regularly meet for check-ins and to review the tasks and duties involved in constable work. Prior to commencement of the program, mentors receive training regarding activities to be conducted with their mentees and guidance on how to create a positive working and learning environment for their mentee. If no suitable female mentors are available, the new woman recruit is assigned a senior male mentor. New female recruits who are assigned to the peer intervention are posted at a police station alongside at least one additional new female recruit.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
(1) New women constables’ working conditions; (2) aspirations of women constables and retention within the police force; (3) women constables’ support networks; (4) male constable attitudes.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our unit of randomization is the police station. We randomly assign 322 police stations across 17 districts (pop. ~33 million) due to receive new constables to one of four arms: (1) Base - these police stations receive one new woman constable, and follow business-as-usual procedures for the integration of new recruits; (2) Female mentor - these police stations receive one new woman constable, and she is offered participation in a mentorship program run by a senior female mentor; (3) Female peer - these police stations receive at least two new women constables; (4) Pure control - these police stations receive no new women constables. Across all groups, the total new recruits assigned (male + female) is meant to be kept constant.

Within each of the 17 study districts, we stratified police stations by the first principal component of a vector of police station characteristics (total number of existing officers; share female officers; number of senior female officers). We randomized our treatment and control arms within these strata, with 77 stations in the first treatment arm (base; one new female constable), 74 stations in the second treatment arm (female mentor; one new female constable); 73 stations in the third treatment arm (two new female constables); and, 98 stations in the control arm.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer using Stata
Randomization Unit
Police station
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
322 police stations
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 900 new constables (300 female and 600 male) and 2,500 existing officers at sample police stations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Seventy-seven police stations are assigned to treatment arm 1 (base); 74 stations are assigned to treatment arm 2 (female mentor); 73 stations are assigned to treatment arm 3 (female peer); 98 stations are assigned to treatment arm 4 (control/ no female).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Virginia Institutional Review Board for the Social and Behavioral Sciences
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number