The days after Women’s Day: Integrate women cops as leaders in the police force

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Source– The post is based on the article “The days after Women’s Day: Integrate women cops as leaders in the police force” published in The Indian Express on 10th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Vulnerable sections of the population. GS1- Social empowerment

News– Gender empowerment has been a popular theme in India and some tangible policy decisions have indeed been made. Increasing representation of women in uniform services is one such initiative.

What are the issues faced by women in uniform?

Crime against women is very high with an abysmal rate of conviction. Public spaces are still unsafe, especially after dark. It curtails their free movement. Thus, it adversely affects their working hours and employment avenues.

In most states, there is absence of in-service training after their induction. Female police officers are expected to investigate crimes against women and cases under POCSO Act. But, in many states, they have not received any specialised training for the same.

A study at the Centre for Police Research during 2015-16 showed that the number of women is increasing in Maharashtra Police. But women officers do not receive the required cooperation from male colleagues.

Another area of concern is the hostility faced by women police officers during pregnancy and post their maternity leave.

What is the way forward to improve the situation of women in uniform services?

Policy alone is not sufficient to strengthen the position of women in uniform. There has to be commitment from the field-level leadership too.

Coaching in communication skills and fruitful negotiations during public disorder is needed. It can help them deal with the different types of conflicts they face.

Women officers can work on their time management skills, financial literacy and networking to attend to diverse professional and personal responsibilities.

Local law colleges and universities can be approached to understand the latest amendments and provisions of law.

It is important to sensitise men on women in police stations and the need to respect them as professional colleagues instead of resenting their presence.

The concept All Women Police Stations needs relook. There is a need for inclusive police stations where complainants, irrespective of gender, will get prompt redressal of their grievances.

A standard police station must reflect the healthy gender ratio of society. Its main objectives are prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of public order.

The idea that women police can do justice to the issues of women needs to be discarded now. Women have proved competent to deal with complex issues while men have proved to be compassionate and empathetic to women victims.

Confining them to All Women Police Stations or investigating offenses against women and children is a gross under-utilisation of their wide-ranging capabilities. It is also unjust for women victims who are made to travel long distances in search of AWPSs.

Menstruation and child-bearing stages in a woman’s career should also be accepted naturally without casting aspersions on their capabilities. This requires sensitivity. The department should construct rest rooms, changing rooms and creches for them.

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