Only 12% of the Indian police were women as of 2020. While many States have mandated 10% to 33% reservation for women in the police, not one of these States has met its goal. The share of women among the higher ranks was even lower at 8.7%. A significant share of policewomen suffer due to patriarchal prejudices and are considered unfit for on-field tasks. Many stations also lack basic infrastructure such as separate toilets for women.
Share of women in police
The map shows the share of women in the civil police force in 2020. For instance, in Bihar, 25% of the civil police were women, the highest in the country, while in J&K, only 3.3% were women, which is the lowest. Most States have reserved some posts for women in the police force. The share of reservations ranges from 10% to 33%. Not one of the States, however, has met the goal. Overall only 12% of police force were women.
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Women in higher ranks
While 12% of the police force were women, their share in the higher ranks (gazetted officers) was even lower at 8.72%. In Kerala, 0.26% of gazetted police officers were women, while Chhattisgarh performed relatively better on this count at 18%. In Bihar, 25% of non-gazetted civil police officers were women, whereas they formed only 8% of gazetted officers. Gazetted officers are those above the level of Inspector (ASP, SP, ADSP, AIGP, DIG, IGP, DGP, etc). Inspectors, SIs, ASIs, constables etc. are non-gazetted.
Many women in the force expressed discontent due to poor infrastructure such as the non-availability of separate toilets and lack of venues to report workplace harassment. The answers were from a CSDS survey of 12,000 personnel across States in 2019.
Prejudices towards women
A significant share of personnel said that policing is a man's job. A significant share of them, including women, were found to hold prejudiced notions about the capability of women in handling police duties.
With inputs from Karthik Dhandapani. He is an Associate Professor, IIM Trichy.
Sources: BPRD, CSDS, Lok Sabha