Representation of Women in the police

Mains- GS-1 Society

What is the representation of Women in Indian Police?

a) Women constitute about 7% of the police strength in India.

b) This number is expected to rise with many States and Union Territories providing for reservation for women in the police.

How can we enhance the representation of Women?

a) Mainstreaming women in the police by making policing inclusive, non-discriminatory and efficient in India is missing in policy circles.

b) There is a need to develop a model policy that will challenge the deep-rooted patriarchy in the institution.

c) All State police departments need to draft such a policy.

d) Reservation to increase gender diversity should also consider the need for policymaking.

e) A model policy should lay down the foundation for equal opportunities for women in every aspect of policing.

f) It should also strive to create a safe and enabling work environment.

g) A level playing field can be ensured for women in the police by increasing their numbers.

h) Police departments should develop an action plan to achieve the target of 30% or more in a time-bound manner. This also applies to States that have not provided a quota as yet.

i) Departments should undertake special recruitment drives in every district to ensure geographical diversity.

j) The police should reach out to the media and educational institutions to spread awareness about opportunities for women in the police.

k) Data reveal that most women in the police are concentrated in the lower ranks. Efforts should be made to change this.

l) The impulse to create women-only battalions for the sake of augmenting numbers should be eliminated.

Which are other issues affecting Women?

a) Decisions on deployment of women should be free of gender stereotyping. This help in bringing women into leading operational positions.

b) At present, there is a tendency to sideline women, or give them policing tasks that are physically less demanding, or relegate them to desk duty, or make them work on crimes against women alone.

c) Women police officers should be encouraged to take on public order and investigative crimes of all types and should be given duties beyond the minimum mandated by special laws. Desk work too must be allocated evenly among men and women.

d) A major burden of family and childcare responsibilities falls on women. Police departments lack proper internal childcare support systems. Departments need to be mindful of this social reality

e) They need to exercise sensitivity in making decisions on transfers and posting of women personnel. Women should be posted in their home districts in consultation with supervising officers.

f) Funds are allocated under the Modernization of State Police Forces Scheme for providing separate toilets and changing rooms and for separate accommodation for women. Police departments must ensure the best use of this fund.

Where does sexual harassment figure in Women representation?

a) Police departments must  ensure safe working spaces for women and adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and harassment.

b) Departments are legally bound to set up Internal Complaints Committees to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.

c) Departments must operationalise the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013.

d) Some of these suggestions have already been made by the National Conference of Women in Police.

Source: The Hindu