As Narrated by Inspector Tanya:
Even though we are now well into the 21st century the inclusion of women in the Pakistani police force remains low. From the overall 1% in the 70s and 80s the numbers have just increased to a minimal 1.8% today.
I have always believed that recruiting more policewomen in the force was a great step towards empowering women as well as strengthening the rule of law. One must keep in mind that having policewomen arrest those perpetrators who harass or humiliate women would not only discourage this threat but would also make Pakistan stronger and more stable.
Unfortunately, violence against women is still rampant in the country, however, NGOs and activists say the recorded cases are just the tip of the iceberg, as most cases of gender-based violence go unreported in the country. In many instances, women do not come forward and report the abuse to authorities.
One of the reasons behind this is a deep fear. Since most of Pakistan’s police force and judiciary is male-dominated, women are reluctant to interact with them. There have been reports of harassment in police stations during investigations. Having female police officers at the time gives the women a sense of comfort and the belief that a woman would be more inclined to get justice for them than a man. Therefore, many human rights groups are urging the government to establish special courts for rape trials, so that victims feel more secure. They also demand that the number of female police officers and female judges be increased in order to deal with such cases.
At the time that I undertook my training, I do admit that it was grueling and at times even humiliating, since we were trained by the men who didn’t look kindly at having female competition. We were always given tasks to set us up to fail. But our small batch of recruits were bold, but unfortunately we were also still quite rare. There was at the time and still is today to some extent a misconstrued understanding among many male colleagues that the “big” jobs should be left to the men. But to reach the zenith of a career that had to ensure that the law and order in the country was taken care of in an ethical and compassionate manner, we had to at times suffer and realise that a bruised pride, humiliation, and discrimination were often tangled up in the progression of our career. Thankfully it is now widely acknowledged that having more women in the police is crucial to building an institution that protects the rights of women and girls that facilitates, rather than hinders, their access to justice. Therefore just like the patient spiders we had to persevere.
I am happy to say that the UN has argued that policewomen and female peacekeepers are particularly valuable in establishing stability particularly in post-conflict states and crimes against women.
To sum it up, despite all the trials and tribulations that my team and I have suffered, I am proud to be a policewoman.