August 26 is marked as Women’s Equality Day -- a time to commemorate the passage of the women’s right to vote and progress on women’s rights, as well as to call attention to their continuing efforts towards full equality.
While women have made significant strides when it comes to voter registration and turnout, we still have strides to make when it comes to equal representation of women in high offices.
On the eve of Women’s Equality Day, Hindustan Times spoke to women police officials in Bhopal and tried to know the reality behind ‘equality’.
“Even today, women police officers and personnel have to fight a lot for getting a posting in the mainstream. In MP, there is not a single woman IPS officer posted as inspector general of police. Only a few are superintendents of police,” said a senior police officer in Bhopal, requesting anonymity.
Women were granted the right to vote in the United States on August 26 in 1920. While the day is celebrated in the US on a large scale, several other countries have been observing it too.
“The strength of women police personnel is very less -- around 6%. It is hard for women to get equal treatment in any field,” she added.
According to a research by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, people still view the police force as a militaristic organisation dedicated to fighting society’s enemies who must be chased down, captured and sometimes killed. It is seen as a difficult, dangerous occupation that demands strength and physical courage from its officers.
“Public view contributes a lot. It is a major factor for lack of women coming forward to join the police force. It is seen that women belonging to families with a history of police jobs are in most numbers. They get to know about vacancies and do not face in-house denials. The government has brought in reservation but it should also promote services for girls. Advertising can help,” says another women police officer.
However, additional director general, women cell, Aruna Mohan Rao feels the government is providing equal opportunities to women police officers. “IPS women officers are getting posted in the districts as superintendents of police. Women are getting respectable postings. The strength will soon increase with 33% reservation from now.”