A study probing the ‘gender friendliness’ of Maharashtra Police, conducted by former Pune Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar, had found that 48 per cent women constables employed with Maharashtra Police find their work environment “gender-unfriendly”. The study, conducted in 2014-15 among women constables and sub-inspectors, showed that 36 per cent women PSIs found the department “gender unfriendly”
Borwankar is currently the director general of the Bureau of Police Research and Development. She had conducted the study — ‘Gender Friendliness of Maharashtra Police For Uniformed Women’ — to assess the “gender friendliness” of Maharashtra Police towards its own women, with respect to work environment, gender respect, equality, and cooperation by male colleagues.
The study also aimed to create a scale to help police assess the “gender friendliness” of various institutions within the police department. In the pilot study, 200 woman constables from Pune District — 103 from Pune City Police and 97 from Pune Rural — had filled up a Marathi questionnaire, answering questions about their work environment. The results of the pilot, conducted in Pune, showed that 50 per cent women constables found their work environment “gender unfriendly”.
The main study, in which 384 woman constables and 58 woman sub-inspectors from seven ranges across Maharashtra participated, showed that only 19 per cent women constables and 20 per cent sub-inspectors were satisfied with the ‘gender friendliness’ of the work environment. The analysis of the responses given by the group showed that 25.19 per cent woman constables and 8 per cent PSIs found that the situation was “very unsatisfactory” as far as ‘gender friendliness’ was concerned. As many as 22.34 per cent constables and 28 per cent PSIs found it “unsatisfactory”, while 35.58 per cent constables and 32 per cent PSIs found it to be average.
As per the results, 15 per cent constables and 18 per cent PSIs found the work environment ‘satisfactory’, while 1.8 per cent constables and 2 per cent PSIs found it ‘very satisfactory’. Qualitative analysis of the responses showed that 14 per cent woman constables ( 4 per cent in case of PSIs) complained that their male colleagues would “insult them in public” instead of guiding them.
As many as 15.7 per cent of constables and 10 per cent PSIs felt that male colleagues “rarely helped” them; 15.8 per cent of woman constables and 8 per cent PSIs said that not enough departmental assignments were given to them and they were mostly restricted to doing wireless duties. As many as 30.65 per cent woman constables and 10 per cent PSIs complained that there weren’t enough washrooms for them.
“Based on our findings, we recommended that it was important to develop a culture of gender respect through basic training and regular refresher courses for basic gender sensitisation. We also recommended that it would be helpful if common post-induction training for both men and women is held in police academies. Recruiting more women in the department, to take their ratio to 30 per cent, would also prove helpful,” Borwankar told The Indian Express.
“A regular audit of gender equality/friendliness of the police stations and offices was also recommended, along with instituting rewards for implementing gender-friendly policies,” she added.