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Focus more on physical and psychological needs of female cops, urges lecturer

Published:Monday | July 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer

Recognising that many strides have been made in creating equal opportunities for women in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah has said that more focus is needed to ensure that their physical and psychological needs are accommodated.

Stanley Niaah, head of the Institute of Caribbean Studies and Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies, was guest speaker at the recently held Non-Geographic Formation Number two Chaplaincy Services Branch Women's Conference 2018.

Stanley Niaah indicated that there was no question as to whether women were needed in the JCF but said more should be done to ensure that the whole person was catered to.

"My understanding today is that approximately one-third of the country's police divisions are being managed by female officers, and that is an achievement.

"While there have been strides regarding the role of women, there have also been serious challenges ... around the dismissal and prevention of pregnant police trainees from graduating. Prior to that, pregnancy was not allowed in the 1970s. These are things I hope that we have passed," said Niaah.




The senior lecturer added: "I keep saying that members of the JCF engage in situations all the time that produce trauma. But there are absolutely no major conditions to support both physical and psychological wellness. Oftentimes, there are broken homes that some of us are [living] in [and ]broken relationships, sometimes producing even troubled children. "

Stanley Niaah noted that other issues that need attention include the difficulty of balancing work and family, marginalisation by male counterparts inside the professional sphere, sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, and long hours on the job in poor working conditions.