“Staka Woman Tumas”: Police Perspectives on Ogranizational Gender Balancing.
Miss Casandra Harry1
1The University Of The South Pacific
The security sector has largely been a male-dominated sphere. In countries emerging out of conflict, state-building initiatives have often prioritised gender balancing, favouring the increased inclusion of women in security sector institutions. Post-conflict police reform in the Solomon Islands aligned with this set standard, as capacity-building efforts within the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) (in principle) prioritised the empowerment, inclusion and promotion of women within the force. The RSIPF has been lauded for leading the charge in advancing women’s rights and participation, and the Solomon Islands government and the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) have both detailed their support and satisfaction with the advancement of women within the organisation. While members of the RSIPF expressed pride and largely supported gender equality and equity in the organisation, these officers highlighted several drawbacks of this well-intended initiative. This presentation looks at officers’ perspectives on gender transformation within the RSIPF. The research found that although officers believed that gender-balancing was necessary within the force, the increased inclusion of women brought several challenges, particularly in frontline policing and operational duties. The arguments presented herein further build on scholarly discussions about gender equality in policing organisations in small-island developing states in the Pacific.
Casandra Harry is a part-time lecturer at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She recently completed a doctoral degree in Sociology at the University of the South Pacific. Her research interests are multidisciplinary in scope spanning Sociology, Criminology, Cultural Studies, International Relations and Public Policy.