Gurgaon (BBC) - On August 28th, the Indian state Haryana inaugurated its first all-women police force, heralding a significant improvement for women’s access to justice in a state where crimes and discrimination against women has remained consistently high. Despite Gurgaon’s (the state’s capital) recent transformation into one of India’s new “millennium cities”, a transformation that has replaced its villages and rural landscape with modern high-rise buildings and corporate offices, old and strongly entrenched traditions and worldviews, in particular as regards the position of women in society, are difficult to change. The new Inspector of the all-woman police force, Inspector Umesh Bala, has 30 years of experience handling crimes against women, and is well aware of the social obstacles faced by women who have been subjected to gender-based discriminating or violent behavior. With women making up only 6.11 % of the country’s police force, she understands that many women do not want to go to the police station where gender-sensitivity is strongly lacking. However, she hopes that women will “feel more comfortable telling us about their problems, [and that] they can talk to us without shame or guilt."
Photo credit: The Hindu Business Line