Royal Canadian Mounted Police

50th anniversary of women police officers in the RCMP: Celebrating women in the RCMP

Women have made significant contributions to the RCMP throughout our history. Their ongoing hard work, commitment, and accomplishments have help shape the organization and make us who we are today. In 2024, we’re celebrating 50 years since Troop 17 became the first group of women to take the oath to become regular members of the RCMP and begin their training at Depot, the RCMP’s training academy in Regina, Saskatchewan. Their perseverance and dedication in serving communities across Canada fundamentally changed our organization forever.

A group of women line up along a sidewalk with a brick building and chapel in the background.
The RCMP's Troop 17 began training at Depot Division in Regina, Saskatchewan, on September 23, 1974.

Blazing the trail wasn’t always easy. While many of the first women in the organization were met with kindness and mentorship at their first postings, many also encountered significant challenges, including gender-based harassment and discrimination, which our organization has had to confront and continues to work to correct.

Members of Troop 17 demonstrated what is possible for women in the RCMP and helped to inspire future generations of women to join our organization. Join us as we recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions women have made, and continue to make, in the RCMP.

The day they announced they were taking women in the RCMP they were calling my name. I literally applied that day in the RCMP detachment in my hometown in Nova Scotia.

Bev Busson, former RCMP Commissioner and Troop 17 member

On this page

History

Since the start of the RCMP 150 years ago, women have been an essential part of our organization, whether as police officers, civilian and public service employees, or the spouses of police officers and special constables who in the past volunteered to perform vital roles in remote and isolated detachments.

Women in red serge march across a gymnasium.
As the RCMP's first troop of women police officers, Troop 17's arrival at Depot for training in 1974 was a landmark moment.

From the very beginning, the men of the North-West Mounted Police, and later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, posted to remote detachments, depended upon First Nations, Métis and Inuit women for their survival in harsh and unfamiliar environments. These women, often family members of Indigenous Special Constables made parkas, mukluks, kamiks, and mittens as well as harnesses, booties and fancy blankets for sled-dogs. They also prepared the dried meat and fish needed for long-distance winter patrols.

Beginning in the 1890s, the North-West Mounted Police employed women as matrons to guard women in police custody, and as escorts when female prisoners were moved from one place to another.

Throughout the RCMP’s history, the spouses of police officers volunteered for a range of duties to support operations in one- and two-officer isolated posts. Their duties ranged from operating radios and answering telephones and taking complaints to searching female offenders and providing meals to prisoners, as well as providing lodging and meals to visiting officials.

As the organization grew, so did the duties of women in the RCMP. With the outbreak of the Second World War, the RCMP released uniformed men performing clerical duties to perform war-related duties. They were replaced with female stenographers, typists and clerks. After the war women continued to be employed in administrative and clerical roles all across Canada.

Five RCMP employees stand in a horseshoe shape, talking.
Today, approximately one fifth of the RCMP's police officers are women, with more and more women in leadership positions.

Between 1922 and 1942, Dr. Frances McGill was director of the Saskatchewan forensic identification lab and supported the RCMP for many years in the fields of medical science, forensic medicine and pathology. As “surgeon” was a rank and since legislation stated that only men could be members with a rank, Dr. McGill was appointed as an honourary surgeon in 1946.

In 1960, when the Civilian Member category of employment was created, women began taking on technical and scientific roles as RCMP members.

On September 16, 1974, 32 women across Canada simultaneously took the oath to become RCMP police officers and they arrived at Depot as Troop 17 on September 18 and 19. In March 1975, they completed their training and started work at detachments across the country.

From the forensic labs to the Musical Ride and from air services to VIP protection, there’s a place for women in all the RCMP’s 150 career specializations. Today, approximately one fifth of the RCMP's police officers are women, with more and more women in leadership positions. The RCMP's first female commissioner was Bev Busson, who took the command of the organization in 2006. In 2018, Brenda Lucki was appointed Commissioner leading the RCMP for five years.

Our stories

To commemorate this historic milestone, current and former employees are sharing their personal stories about the RCMP. Follow along as they share their lived experiences and insights - in their own words.

Gazette

RCMP Recruitment

An RCMP officer stands in front of a police vehicle.
From the forensic labs to the Musical Ride and from air services to VIP protection, there’s a place for women in all the RCMP’s 150 career specializations

There is no other police organization in Canada that provides the level of service and variety offered by the RCMP. With over 150 specializations a career with the RCMP is full of opportunity for continued learning and growth.

If you want to make a difference in your community and your country, explore what we have to offer.

We are now offering careers in the following fields:

Date modified: