Context- This article discusses the need and the possible positive impact of increasing women’s
representation in India’s police in the wake of the recent Women’s Reservation Bill.
Why is political representation of women not enough?
- The women’s reservation bill is a giant step ensuring women will now be represented
more in Indian legislatures, but safety at home and in the streets is still a concern.
- Countries like Rwanda, South Africa and Mexico rank high when it comes to women in
parliaments. But they are not safe places for women to be in.
- For instance, women leaders in Rwanda came to the fore because of an unplanned
shortage of men due to civil war, however, the masculine ethos and cultural prejudice
have not changed.
- Similarly, South Africa has among the highest recorded rates of sexual violence in the
Why is there a need for increasing representation of women in the police?
- Lower crimes against women: If women in Parliament and police work together, crimes
against women would fall.
For instance, Sweden, Australia and the Netherlands show that these countries protect
women’s interests best because they are well represented both in their parliaments and in their
- Lack of Empathy: Male Police officers cannot handle cases of crime against women with
the empathy they deserve.
- Increased filing of cases: When it comes to filing crimes against women, women police
officers are more active and willing. This may be because women find it easier to open
up to another woman.
- More crimes against women come to light: If women had a sympathetic policewoman’s
ear, more women would come forward.
Keeping this in mind, Punjab police established Saanjh Shakti and Punjab Police Mahila Mitter
Committee. Here, a woman can approach an all-women helpdesk to register her complaint.
After Parliament, women must be at least one-third of the police, to push back stubborn
patriarchy and ensure safety of women.