Sunday, August 18, 2019 | ePaper

Participation of women in policing

They get a little scope in key decision making

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Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
Effective participation of women makes a country economically, socially and culturally developed. To establish rule of law and good governance, women empowerment is necessary. The participation of female police personnel has increased globally over the last half of the century. Nonetheless, women's under-representation at the senior police level is widely evident because of the patriarchal social, structural, philosophical and cultural barriers prevailing within the organization.
Though the Constitution of Bangladesh emphasizes the equal participation and opportunity of women in every sphere of job, women get a very little access to public services especially in the police and police organizations. As a result, women get a little scope and occupy a very number in the key decision making of the service. The position of women in the family life is very complex regarding different aspects like custom, values, religious conservative attitude, security, social dignity, biological factors and for participation of women in the decision-making activities in society and nation as a whole.
The society of Bangladesh can be seen as a typical example of patriarchy, where women are relegated to domestic spheres with limited rights, while relatively powerless in the public sphere. Here, dominant patriarchal ideology has established male superiority. In order to further understand the context in which women are debarred to join in Bangladesh police, one needs to understand the normative part of the male dominated society. The importance of normative structures in this research is the outcome of it.
We need to take an objective step out of the normative structures in society. So far from the formation of Bangladesh police, women are treated as less valued part of policing. Mostly, higher authorities appoint them to serve the clerical purpose and for searching the suspect. But they have the potentiality to do all the laborious work like their male counterpart.
After the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country on 16th December 1971, the police force was reorganized and it assumed the role of a national police force. Though Bangladesh Police bears a long history, the formation of women police in Bangladesh began in 1970s. Women first joined in Bangladesh Police in 1974. Fourteen women police officers were appointed in the Special Branch (SB) in 1974. Of them, seven were in the rank of Sub-Inspector (SI) and seven were in the rank of Constable.
The first female uniformed police members were recruited two years later. In 1976, fifteen women police officers were appointed in the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) for the first time in the rank of Constable and Sub-Inspector (SI). However, no women were recruited in the supervising posts in those days. In 1986, only one woman BCS Cadre police officer Ms. Fatema Begum was appointed as Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) through 6th Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examination. She was the pioneer of women as BCS Cadre officer in Bangladesh Police. On 21 June 2011, an Armed Police Battalion (APBn) was created as the 11th battalion of this force.
In Bangladesh Ansar-VDP there are many regular, volunteer and embodied female members who have been employed and deployed for maintaining law & order situation, who also provide election duty and guard Key Point Installations like Airport, Radio Station, Power Station, Parliament House and do many protocol duties with police force.  From the smallest level of commands step by step up to the highest in both Ansar and Police are given trainings and courses of various actions and regimentation, but still, in most of the field level actions, the members of Ansar Bahini have proved their efficiency not less than any other forces. In some cases, the female members are found more action oriented. As they are employed of deployed with police, they are supposed to do the act of policing.
After embodiment, one comes under one uniformed and unique operational command. Bangladesh Ansar -VDP female members are also deployed in RAB. There are separate Female Battalion Ansar Unit in Bangladesh Ansar-VDP from where the national emergency is also met. Moreover, there is a female band unit which one is unique in Bangladesh. There are notable figures of female Ansar VDP in sports arena where the female players are doing good job and earning name and fame for country. There are also trained female volunteer Ansar and VDP members in the grass root level like in the villages and unions who are imparted training and courses on socialization & security aspects. They are given the socio-economic income generating training from where they are being organized to run small business even through co-operatives.
Women's employment in Bangladesh, Police & Ansar-VDP plays a significant role to ensure rule of law, secure the rights of women and provide better service. However Bangladesh bears a patriarchal and matrilineal social system which dominates woman's life. As a result, the employment status of women in Bangladesh is still lower than the expected level. The status of women in Bangladesh is closely related to the situation experienced by many working women in the world. It is expected to contribute significant insights from gender perspective regarding the topic of women's challenges in the workplace with their changing expectation. Equal participation in different services will help women to strengthen their social and economic position in our society.
The Government, the Police Headquarters and Bangladesh Ansar-VDP have to be more sincere and attentive to implement the existing policy more effectively in order to ensure full and enthusiastic participation of women in balanced policing which can be considered as a role model in our neighbourhood countries. Consequently the fullest empowerment of women will be truly established and the domination of male culture and negative attitude of patriarchal society will be substantially reduced. Thus we can hope a positive and better image of Bangladesh Police & Ansar-VDP which can be a matter of pride and can largely contribute to building a sustainable and prosperous future for Bangladesh.
(Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed, writer, columnist and researcher)

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