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What we needed to change
The Zambia Police Service has been dominated by male officers especially in high ranking and decision makings positions which have continued to be occupied by male officers since independence, while women officers have remained under-represented as observed by the current Police Command structure of 2016/17 where the ratio of male to female heading Divisions and Units is 8 to 1 representing 89% to 11% respectively.
Changing the police system
However, this will soon change as the Police Command has devised strategies to address the gender inequalities that have been in existence for a long time through the establishment of the Gender Office. The purpose of the Gender Office is to promote and facilitate continuous gender orientation programmes, procedures, budgetary allocation and promotion, using appropriate channels in order to have a gender responsive Police Service within ranks and files.
The move by the Zambia Police Service has cheered NGOCC, with support from Hivos, a memorandum of understanding has been drawn to assist the Zambia Police Commission and other Public Service Commissions to establish mechanisms of mainstreaming gender in the service. Further, NGOCC is conducting training in policy development on gender and monitor the gender perspectives into Public service work such as the Police Command.
A response to Sexual harassment
To this effect, the Police Command had developed a Gender and Sexual Harassment Workplace Policy. The Policy incorporates concrete measures for the Service. It promotes equal representation in decision-making positions for both female and male officers. This ensures improved representation of gender related matters at the highest level of command and decision making process.
The Policy will provide equal access to In-service leadership training, peacekeeping operations, recruitments, appointments and promotions and facilitate gender awareness programmes at work places.
With these developments, the Zambia Police Service will no longer be a “man’s” world!