Empowering women to become future leaders in the Police Force is the focus of a leadership training organized by the Fiji Police Women’s Network (FPWN) this week.
Thirty members of the Fiji Police Force ranging from management to recruit level, are currently engaged in a two-day workshop to enhance their skills and knowledge to advance their ability to take leadership role.
The workshop is conducted by the FPWN with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in partnership with the British High Commission in Suva.
Currently, less than one percent of women officers in the Fiji Police Force serve as gazetted officers (Police officers of or above the rank of Assistant Superintendent) and only a small number of these hold senior positions.
Globally, women remain underrepresented in decision-making levels of public administration according to the 2014 Global Report published by UNDP.
The proportion of women in such roles in the Fiji Police Force is much lower than that observed in England and Wales (2009 available data).
The data reveals that in England and Wales, women hold eight percent of Sergeant positions, 14 percent of Inspectors, 15 percent of Chief Inspectors, 11 percent of Superintendents, and 12 percent of Chief Superintendents and Assistant Chief Constable and above one.
The FPWN was established in November 2003, as part of the Pacific Island Chiefs of Police Women’s Advisory Network.
The Network advises the Fiji Police Force of gender issues in the organization; promotes good practices and supports women in policing; and advocates for domestic action to promote gender equality.
It operates within the Fiji Police Force at national and divisional levels encouraging more women to assume leadership roles.
Acting Commissioner of Police Mr Rusiate Tudravu, said, “The Fiji Police Force has come a long way since the first women officers joined over three decades ago, and at a time where the institution is embarking on a restructure process, leadership opportunities are opening up and is there for the taking, however women officers must first empower themselves to know that anything is achievable, and they have a long list of senior women officers who have paved the way in breaking barriers within the institution”.
The Fiji Police Force encourages women to apply for examinations and engage in more staff development training programmes, to gain advanced qualifications supporting their elevation into senior positions.
This workshop provides them with an opportunity to raise their qualifications with a view to advancing their careers in the Force.