The Sindh Police have finally shown signs of progress by appointing two female SHOs in Karachi. The two women have been appointed to head the police stations in two key localities.
This is a significant development, not just for Sindh, but for the entire country that we are finally allowing women to hold positions that were previously occupied by men. The job of a police officer is no less daunting whether or not you are a man or a woman but in our society, it becomes harder for women to work professionally at such positions. Empowering women in the police department is not entirely new and Karachi does boast of a women’s police station, which was launched with much fanfare during the tenure of the previous PPP government. However, this is the first time that female police officers have been installed as SHOs of regular police stations and will have a male-dominated staff reporting to them. In that sense, the experience for the male police personnel of having to deal with a woman who is their superior may well turn out to be a productive one given that this is precisely what a gender-sensitisation programme would aim to achieve.
Furthermore, there is a perception that women are less likely than men to resort to violence — which is a very good thing if one happens to be working as a police officer — and that they are more serious about doing well on their job. If there is any truth in this statistic, then we hope female leadership will show the male counterparts that management does not necessarily need ‘force’ to achieve an end. It is also hoped that having female law enforcers in relatively senior posts such as SHOs will help create an environment where women who are victims of crime are able to approach the police and report these acts. Karachi has over a hundred police stations and it would be good to see many more manned by female officers — having two for now is a very positive step towards that.