The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary recently revived its Women’s Advisory Network (WAN), which is strengthening the skillsets of members, as part of its effort to improve work conditions for female officers and the quality of community police services.
The organisation is volunteer driven and provides an advocacy platform for police women to address issues such as harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
More than 40 female police officers from around the country attended a workshop in Port Moresby recently to enhance their leadership, organisational and advocacy skills.
Police women are becoming more vocal about the need for improvement in workplace culture and the treatment of women both within the police force and the broader community. Wewak participants Maria Phia and Angelina Mot confirmed that police women face a range of issues in the workplace. These include sexual harassment, being overlooked for promotion, being allocated inadequate accommodation (or in some cases, no accommodation at all) and having to deal with spouses who were not supportive of their careers.
On a more positive note, 90 policewomen were among a list of police officers promoted this year; a record number for the RPNGC who are continuing to support female officers as positive change agents within the police force.
Speaking at the WAN workshop, RPNGC Commissioner Gari Baki acknowledged the contribution of police women in the force and urged them to continue to be agents of change within the organisation. The Police Commissioner said WAN members were part of a “global network of police women who are boldly stepping forward without fear and pressing through all obstacles for progress and much needed change”.
Inspector Anne Drakum, notably the first woman to reach this rank in Wabag, Enga Province, said the information and skills gained at the workshop would be valuable in promoting the interests and concerns of women within the police force.
The meeting concluded with the presentation of WAN’s finalised constitution, to Mr Baki.
Australian High Commission Counsellor, Law and Justice, Gina Wilson, said finalising the constitution was “a major milestone that further enhances the role the Network will play supporting women in the police force and shaping the RPNGC itself”. This initiative has been supported by the Australian Government through the Justice Services and Stability for Development Program.
SOURCE: Australian High Commission, Port Moresby