No women's toilets in half of all police stations

No women's toilets in half of all police stations

No women's toilets in half of all police stations

Women in the police department face a curious problem: they are forced to use the same toilets as their male colleagues.

More than half of all police stations in the state have no separate toilets. Policing is still considered a male domain, but more women are joining the department in recent years. The lack of toilets is a problem, though not a deterrent.

Cases of harassment by men colleagues are rare, but working conditions definitely call for improvement, women in the department said a day ahead of Women’s Day.

Malini Krishnamurthy, Additional Commissioner of Police (West), said, “In Bengaluru, at least 50 police stations have no separate toilets for women. During a recent inspection, I instructed the inspectors to allot the existing toilets to women staff and complainants,” she said.

She hasn't come across any case of harassment by men colleagues. Sonia Narang, DIG (CID), said women are forced to work extra hours and find it difficult to balance their personal and professional lives.

“But the challenges lie in the mind, not in the profession. Policing is a challenging job for both men and women,” she said.

By way of encouragement, she said women can prove their worth in both executive and non-executive postings. D Roopa, DIG, makes out a case for gender sensitivity.

“Things have improved in the last decade, but a lot more remains to be done. There is a belief women can't understand certain areas,” she said. The amended Police Act mandates a committee to redress the grievances of women. But the constabulary isn’t aware of it, she said.

Dr Rohini Katoch-Sepat, Director, Forensic Science Laboratory, believes women must prove their professional competence in whatever job they are given.

“More women are getting into the department and it’s a matter of time before they constitute 50% of the force,” she said. “And over the last two years, the government has been spending on building toilets.”