Women constitute as low as 6.11 per cent of India's police force, as a result of deep-rooted systemic deficiencies including gender bias, stereotyping and segmentation of duties and lack of a common cadre during recruitment, a first-of-its kind study on Women Police in South Asia has revealed.
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the body which conducted the study, will release its full findings tomorrow in the presence of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju here.
The study titled--Rough Roads to Equality - Women Police in South Asia-- puts the total number of women in police forces, across states in India, at 1,05,325. The overall strength (civil and armed) on the other hand stands at 22,83,646.
"Apart from the institutional limitations, this is also due to the fact that men are always equated with tough policing, especially with a force that is largely perceived as masculine and militaristic," CHRI Director Maja Daruwala said.
Other South Asian Countries that were part of the study were Bangladesh, Maldives and Pakistan while Kerala, Haryana, Meghalaya, Rajasthan and Jharkhand were the Indian states.
Devika Prasad, coordinator of the study team, said the pace of change in the policing structure was "glacial" and attributed it to condoning the demand for a "common cadre" for recruitment of men and women among other factors.
"There's still no common cadre for recruitment at the level of Constables. Separate posts for women are often very less and it also affects their promotion in the hierarchy," she said while sharing the gist of the findings.
She said the systemic deficiencies in terms of infrastructure namely lack of ladies toilets were also among the major hindrances in increasing the abysmally low presence of women.
Former DG NHRC Kanwaljit Deol, former Kerala top cop Jacob Punnoose, and former director of National Police Academy Kamal Kumar were also part of the initiative.
Among Indian states, Chandigarh tops the chart with 14.16 per cent women in police force while Assam is at the bottom with just 0.93 per cent.
Interestingly, Kerala, which is often held up as a model state in terms of better management, "not a single police station has a female Station House Officer," the report said.
"The general perception maybe that women need policing. But the fact is policing needs women more because of the unique sets of skills and personalities they bring to the table namely patience, compassion, sincerity, empathy and devotion," Kumar said.
He also lamented the lack of efforts towards "mainstreaming" women, and slammed the prevailing practises of restricting women by assigning them duties such as escorting women prisoners and interrogating women suspects among others.