Bias against women police highest in Bihar, Karnataka

Bias against women police highest in Bihar, Karnataka

Asserting that Indian police system "reeks of bias" against women working in the police, it said one in every four male police personnel has a ‘high’ degree of bias against women in police, while a significant proportion of male police personnel were also found to have a ‘medium’ degree of bias (16%). (DH File Photo)

Policemen in Bihar, Karnataka and West Bengal have the "highest levels of bias" against women in the force compared to their counterparts in other states, a new survey has found.

Personnel from these states are most likely to believe that policewomen are "less hardworking, less efficient and should focus on their household duties", the Status of Policing in India Report 2019: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions released on Tuesday said.

The study based on the survey covering 11,836 police personnel, including 2,416 women, and 10,595 of their family members finds that an over all 23% personnel have "high bias" against women personnel.

While 25% of men have "high bias", 23% women also share this view.

"Men in police were found to harbour much stronger stereotypes compared to their female counterparts. Male police personnel are more likely to agree with the gender-stereotypical statements," the report said.

Asserting that Indian police system "reeks of bias" against women working in the police, it said one in every four male police personnel has a ‘high’ degree of bias against women in police, while a significant proportion of male police personnel were also found to have a ‘medium’ degree of bias (16%).

Among men, 60% personnel in Bihar, 44% in Karnataka and 39% in West Bengal had high bias against their women counterpart. On the other hand, the report said, male police personnel from Haryana and Odisha (9% and 10% respectively had high bias) emerged as the least biased.

"The service conditions are equally harsh for women and men in police forces, but women have to fight extra battles in a misogynist environment... This situation was particularly bad in Bihar and Karnataka," it said.

"Policing is traditionally considered a man’s job. Not surprisingly, many hold patriarchal prejudices and consider women to be incapable of handling police duties. Their reasons for putting down women are manifold, including their perceived lack of strength, or incapability of handling high intensity cases. They feel women might be better off at homes than working as policewomen," the report said.

The survey also found that 48% of the women personnel surveyed said they did not get any weekly off while only 29% reported getting one day holiday in a week.

In states like Odisha and Chhattisgarh the situation was much worse, with 95% and 90% policewomen respectively reporting to not getting any weekly holidays.

Maharashtra was found to be the best performing state with respect to weekly rests for personnel. Karnataka also fared better in this count with only 7% percent women reporting no weekly offs.