Thai Police Academy Will No Longer Enroll Female Officers

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“It is gender discrimination. There are already too few female police officers, and now this rule will further reduce those numbers. It is a big setback for sexual assault and domestic violence cases, which are hugely under reported in the country.”

 

 

The Thai police cadet academy has recently announced it will ban female applicants from enrolling and will only admit male candidates in the coming academic year.

The decision, which is a blatant example of gender discrimination, has predictably sparked anger amongst women’s rights activists who believe the move will affect the prosecution of sexual harassment crimes in the country.

However, the Royal Police Cadet Academy (RPCA), which lies on the outskirts of Bangkok and accepts about 300 applicants a year, didn’t care to offer any explanation for the controversial decision.

“It’s policy. We’re not allowed to give any more information than that,” said an RPCA captain, Worawut Sripakhon.

In a country where nearly 90 percent of rape cases go unreported, having no female police officers will most likely have grave consequences for female sexual assault victims.

“This is a very backward move for women’s rights and women’s safety in Thailand,” said Jadet Chaowilai, director of the rights group Women and Men Progressive Movement.

“Fewer cases of domestic violence, harassment and sexual assault may be reported if there are no women police officers, as victims may be embarrassed or reluctant to speak to male officers,” he added.

The proposed ban also directly goes against Thailand’s law, according to which the female rape victims must be interviewed by female officers. But, clearly none of that was taken into account while barring women from working in the 100-year-old police force, in which they have been working since 2009.

Moreover, many concerned citizens also felt male officers won’t be that considerate or compassionate while questioning sexual assault victims.

“Only policewomen are able to get the real testimony from the assaulted, and their stories of suffering,” Facebook user AorAeJm Cop wrote. “It’s as if they’re raped again during investigation if there are no female officers. They would rather keep that suffering to themselves.”

Also, it must be disappointing for aspiring policewomen undergoing training in the academy to see their hopes and dreams put to such an abrupt end.

“It is gender discrimination. There are already too few female police officers, and now this rule will further reduce those numbers. It is a big setback for sexual assault and domestic violence cases, which are hugely under reported in the country,” said UsaLerdsrisuntad, director of rights group Foundation for Women.

According to the World Bank data, women make about 45 percent of Thailand’s labor force– among the highest ratios in Asia. Despite that, unfortunately, the female workforce is still being subjected to such sexist recruitment rulings and that too for unexplained reasons.

Moreover, the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO), announced this year to let only men apply for official roles and justified the decision by suggesting women eventually leave their jobs due to family commitments.

Banner Image Credits: LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images

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