A number of nations have instituted group-specific institutions or “enclaves” for women. The assumption underpinning such bodies—physically distinct, autonomous units in which constituent members belong entirely to a particular group—is that the segregation of female administrators will better serve the interests of women by isolating them from patriarchal norms and practices. I scrutinize this assumption by examining India's experience with all-women police stations, and carry out eight months of ethnographic research in and around police stations across the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. I find that while all-women police stations allow complainants to speak freely, they may also diminish capacity for female administrators working in law enforcement, create hurdles for victims of violence, and, in some ways, marginalize gender issues from the mainstream.

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