Women in Vanuatu face challenges in police force
The Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Women's Advisory Network says women in the Vanuatu police force continue to face discrimination.
The Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Women's Advisory Network says more women in the Vanuatu police force would make the force a stronger organisation.
The network's program manager, Melissa Northam, says there is currently a lack of promotion and opportunity for women in the force.
Ms Northam told our correspondent Hilaire Bule that there is no reason why women cannot hold senior or frontline roles within the Vanuatu Police.
MELISSA NORTHAM: The challenges seem to be consistent across the Pacific itself but the main challenges that the women of Vanuatu find is recognition, recognition by their peers and their bosses within the police, promotions and leadership and decision making roles, so getting promoted within their policing agency. But also being given opportunities to assert leadership and have some empowerment in making decisions. The other one is discrimination in roles. A lot of women feel that they are not being able to contribute to operational front-line policing and that they're mainly being put into administration roles.
HILAIRE BULE: What is the main cause of this problem?
MN: Look, there are a lot of reasons. Some of those are traditional. Policing is a very male dominated occupation, and it's also just about understanding. So a lot of it is about understanding that there needs to be equality and that women in order to ensure that our communities are safe need to play an active part in that. The other is that men have always dominated in leadership roles. There is a lot of speculation as to why that is so. But even in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, men tend to dominate those senior roles. What we are trying to do is actually educate and provide the skill sets so that women can get promoted on merit and that then can present a voice from a female perspective at the executive table.
HB: So do you think women in Vanuatu can do the same job that is currently done by the men police?
MN: Of course they can, yes. I definitely think that is the case. You have some very, very smart women and also very sensible women. It's about integrity, and it's also about ethics and commitment. And the women you have in Vanuatu are very highly educated in terms of their knowledge and their understanding. Most of them are managers at home. Most of them look after the families and they balance not only the budgets but they also balance the family unit. So they're already doing that. And there is no reason why men and women can't be holding executive positions. In fact, in my opinion, it actually makes your police force stronger to have different viewpoints at the table.
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