The fight against patriarchy is a long-standing battle, especially in India. Even though women are breaking glass ceilings with their accomplishments, a recent study conducted by the World Bank revealed that India scored below average when global gender equality. While such reports reiterate the fact that efforts taken towards gender quality are not enough, the announcement of Maharashtra’s all-women battalion (after Bihar and Nagaland) is definitely a welcome move.
In a bid to promote gender equality, the Maharashtra government has decided to raise an all-women battalion of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) in Katol, Nagpur. The announcement was made earlier this year, on the occasion of International Women’s Day and, the state’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Tuesday that 1,400 women personnel will be recruited for the said battalion. It would be housed at a training centre proposed on a 100-acre land, added the Home Minister.
The SRPF, raised on March 6, 1948 as a special force of Maharashtra, is male-dominated with 16,000 police personnel. A senior SRPF official said that this move would definitely help in addressing issues related to gender-based violence and provide better security to women.
Mooting the proposal, the Home Minister had written a letter to the SRPF’s Additional Director General and its Inspector General, Nagpur range, saying that the force did not have an all-women battalion.
While making the announcement in March, the Home Minister had said that the force will be equipped with modern weapons and artillery, including AK assault rifles. Now that the process is all set to begin, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has instructed the officials to ensure that the recruitment is completed within a year.
Maintaining law and order, security of vital responsibilities and crowd management during big festivals are some of the responsibilities of the force.
Besides the all-women battalion, the Maharashtra government has also decided to recruit 10,000 constables to strengthen law and order and reduce the stress endured by the police force in the state.
Gender equality is a goal we’ve been trying to chase for a long time, and not only in India but across the world. The 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index, released by Equal Measures 2030 (a private sector partnership that advocates for gender equality), revealed that no country is set to achieve gender equality until 2030. Reports like these reveal the deep-rooted patriarchy in our society, and we hope that such moves will gradually (and eventually) make us bridge this gap.
Featured Image: Mumbai Mirror