Gender inequality: women in police force stand at 7.28%

From 2012 to 2016, State ranks the lowest with 7.3% while M.P. tops chart at 27.7%

November 13, 2019 01:41 am | Updated 07:36 am IST - Mumbai

A file photo of women traffic police at a parade in Bengaluru

A file photo of women traffic police at a parade in Bengaluru

The representation of women in the Indian police force continues to be poor, at 7.28% as on January 1, 2017. The force lacks gender sensitivity and fails to address the needs of women, revealed a report titled, ‘Status of Policing in India Report 2019 — Police Adequacy and Working Conditions’. The study was jointly carried out by Common Cause, an NGO, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, and Tata Trusts.

The 188-page report pointed out, “The lack of women’s representation in the police further contributes to reinforcement of gender stereotypes, and intensifies biases against women within the police force as well as women who have an interface with the police.”

None of the States have been able to meet the 33% benchmark set by the Ministry of Home Affairs, with Tamil Nadu having the highest representation of women at 12.9% in 2016.


The survey found that 48% women reported not getting any weekly off and 22% said there is no separate toilet for women. Over half of the personnel (both men and women) said men and women in the police force are not given equal treatment. Policewomen at higher ranks are more likely to report discrimination.

From 2012 to 2016, Maharashtra ranked the lowest in having women police personnel with 7.3% while Madhya Pradesh topped with 27.7% and Delhi at 20%. One-fourth policewomen said there is no sexual harassment committee at their police station/jurisdiction.

The report highlighted that policewomen are more likely to perform in-house tasks, while policemen are more likely to undertake on-the-field jobs. One in two women police personnel does not get any weekly off. One in every five policewomen reported the absence of a separate toilet for women at their police station.

There are vacancies in reserved posts for scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST), other backward classes (OBC), and women in the police force across nearly all States. Maharashtra ranked highest in filling SC posts with 24.1% and 21.4% for ST and 19.2% for OBC. Maharashtra is also the only State where more than 80% police personnel reported getting at least one day off. In Chattisgarh, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh, 90% of the police personnel reported not getting any weekly off at all.

Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland and West Bengal were found to have a negligible gap between the work divisions of men and women.

Interestingly, Punjab and Nagaland have more women police personnel performing ‘on-the-field’ tasks, compared to men.

Police personnel in Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Bihar, had about ‘two-third or more’ police personnel who held the opinion that the Muslim community is likely to be naturally prone to committing violence. In Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, ‘more than half’ of the police personnel believed that people from Dalit community are likely to be naturally prone to committing violence.

Rajasthan and Maharashtra had ‘about half’ of the police personnel reporting that Adivasis are likely to be naturally prone to committing crimes.

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