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Dhaka Tribune

Police parade a step forward for women’s empowerment

Update : 28 Jan 2016, 07:54 PM

This year’s Police Week parade set a welcome example by being commanded by a female police officer.

Shamsunnahar, a superintendent of police from Chandpur district, became the first woman in the history of this 41-year-old tradition to lead the annual parade of distinguished officers attended by the prime minister.

It is a welcome sign of the ongoing strides women are making in all aspects of life in Bangladesh.

However, there is still a long way to go to ensure equality of opportunity in the police service and elsewhere in society.

Despite their growing visibility in important roles, including as part of Bangladesh’s contributions to UN Peacekeeping Missions, women police officers are still vastly outnumbered in the force overall.

The 7,000 women currently serving in the police make up less than 5% of its 150,000 members.

It is vital that greater efforts be made by the government and IGP to encourage and promote the recruitment of women into the police service. This is absolutely essential to help make the police force more representative of the people it is entrusted to serve.

The forthcoming review of recruitment practices promised by the IGP to help root out rogue officers, should set ambitious targets for encouraging more women to join the police.

All citizens in Bangladesh will benefit if women’s skills and talents are not held back by discriminatory attitudes.

Reforming attitudes is key to raising the expectations our society holds for women and young girls.

It is important, then, to celebrate the increasing viability of leading women police officers.

They set an example for existing officers and are important role models for young women and girls.

The part they play in changing societal attitudes to women’s achievements matters to us all.

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