New Facilities for Female Police OfficersOct 22, 2017
Serving as a police officer in Afghanistan is a major challenge, but for women choosing to serve in the force, the challenge is even greater. In addition to the inherent security risks, cultural restrictions and potential for workplace harassment, there is a lack of dedicated facilities for women, and this makes the work of female police especially difficult. The Afghan police force currently numbers 157,000, yet only two per cent of these are women.
To address this issue, UNDP’s Ministry of Interior and Police Development (MPD) project, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, designed a project to build around 60 dressing rooms and washing facilities for female police officers in police stations across the country. Funded by the republic of Korea, these facilities will encourage more women to join the force.
On 16 October 2017, representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Embassy of Korea and UNDP attended a ceremony in western Herat province to hand over 14 dressing rooms and washrooms for women. These facilities were constructed at police stations in the city and district police headquarters of the province. Six more facilities were completed and handed over to the government in eastern Nangarhar province earlier this year, while around 40 more women-only facilities are due to be built in other provinces.
Ruqaya Khudadadi has been an officer with Herat police for the past ten years. “We had a lot of problems before this, we did not have our own facilities to change, but now we can come to work without uniform and have a place to change,” she said. “This will encourage other women to join the force, they can now be sure that they have their own facilities.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Chin Ki Hoon, emphasized his government’s commitment and support to the development of institutions and the empowerment of women in Afghanistan. “Although these dressing rooms and toilets for the Afghan female police are small in size, their significance is great. I hope these will be remembered as a symbol of friendship between the peoples of our two countries”.
The completion of this project is another step forward to making police facilities more women-friendly and encouraging other women to join the force. “UNDP is committed to women empowerment and works closely with the Government of Afghanistan to address gender issues within Afghan police structure,” said Kunal Dhar, chief of UNDP’s Rule of Law and Human Security Programme Unit. “It is important to note that gender empowerment is more than just a women’s issue, it is a human issue that affects us all. Sustainable peace and prosperity is not possible without the participation and contribution of women”.