'Most policewomen believe postings are gender biased'

'Most policewomen believe  postings are gender biased'

The government may want more women to join the police force but most senior policewomen feel they were denied important posting just because of their gender.

A majority of the women personnel also feel that their work warranted sacrificing family life. These are part of the findings of a report called “Working Conditions of Women in Police” tabled in Parliament recently.

The 187 participants in the study were policewomen delegates at the National Conference of Women in Police in Guwahati early this year. Out of the lot, 111 of them took part in the survey.

While in the lower ranks, women were satisfied with the work assigned to them. As they
moved up the ladder, however, they felt they were subjected to gender discrimination. A director-general rank officer and four additional director-general rank officers said in the survey that they were denied an active posting just because of their gender.

“Twenty-seven percent of participants felt that in some cases they were assigned less important posts or duties just because of their gender. Most of the senior women police officers have the feeling that their professionalism is not considered,” the Home Ministry’s analysis of the survey said.

When it came to complaining about harassment by their male or female counterparts, the survey showed that the numbers are dismal as only 13 among them made an official complaint. Thirty-two of them had claimed they were harassed.

Over 50 per cent of the respondents had felt that work made them sacrifice family life. But at the same time, a whopping majority said that they do not feel that they were given duties, which are too difficult or unsuitable for women.

The condition of women in police forces remains a concern despite the government’s efforts to increase their numbers to 33 per cent. At present, women personnel constitute a miniscule 5.87 per cent.

The Home Ministry has now earned the wrath of the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women for not accepting its suggestion to link the release of central funds and grants to states with the representation of women in police.

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