Over the last few years, India has witnesses a dramatic and positive change in the role of women in the society. The industrial revolution as well as liberalization and globalization have shifted the status of women from a traditional homemaker to an outgoing professional. Nowadays Indian women are actively participating in all economic activities and successfully managing their family and work life at the same time. Some of the best examples are Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Mrs. Pratibha Patil, Ms. Chanda Kochchar, Ms. Kanchan C. Bhattacharya, Ms. Kiran Bedi and many more. However, gender discrimination against women is still prevalent especially in the police force.
Policing is regarded as one of the most male dominated professions across the world. Women are usually considered as the weaker sex, the one that needs the protection. Policing is a challenging hob which requires long and unpredictable hours of duty. It is perception of people that the characteristics of women are not suited to fulfil the requirements of this demanding job. The gender inequality in the police force in India is worse than the other countries. Although the positions and ranks in the police is the same for both men and women, even now women are under-represented and are not given field tasks to the in the same manner like men.
They are shielded and are seldom assigned taxing police work. Most of them are posted as PSO’s to VIP wives and children and are hardly given important roles which deprives them of earning recognition and promotion. When there is women-centric crime or the criminal is women, only then they are told to handle the situation. It is true that women usually feel more comfortable about approaching policewomen than male police officers especially for problems related to sexual harassment , rape, dowry harassment, assault, bigamy, eve-teasing, domestic violence etc. Even though a number of states in India have established all-women police that are run only by policewomen, the percentage of women in the police force remain very low.
Rule of law, which essentially means equality before law is the foundation of any democracy. Indian constitution gives equality to women and also allows the state for adopting different measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. The Indian government has enacted women-specific legislation to justify the constitutional mandate but protection against discrimination based on gender in recruitment and promotions is precisely provided by the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
Basically, a law should be passed by the Indian government to increase the number of women in the police force.
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