Cop conundrum

Can female police officers overcome discrimination in the force?

A member of the Afghan National Police (ANP). Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

In places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, female police officers have the potential to play a crucial role in building a justice system that protects women and girls. But hostility towards female officers runs deep. A recent feature in The Guardian explains that in countries where women make up a tiny fraction of the force, female officers are denied uniforms, relegated to menial tasks, and forced to contend with sexual abuse on the job. The feature does point out, however, that there are ways of making police work a more welcoming occupation. Several police facilities in Pakistan have placed women’s desks near reception, so they do not have to walk deep into the station, which is perceived to be a space unsuitable for women. The Indian government has approved a proposal to reserve 30% of spots on Delhi’s police force for female officers, and the country already boasts female-only stations and hotlines. Of course, there are no easy solutions for the real issue at hand: changing deeply entrenched and sexist attitudes about the role of women in society.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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