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Women Police officers subjected to mistreatment in promotion process, Committee exposes injustice

Colombo (LNW): A recent session of the Select Committee of Parliament, chaired by MP (Dr.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle, brought to light startling revelations of gender-based discrimination within the ranks of the Sri Lanka Police Force, particularly in the realm of promotions for women officers.

Despite uniformity in recruitment, training, deployment, and retirement procedures between men and women Police officers, the committee exposed instances of injustice in the promotion process.

Surprisingly, even though 92 women Chief Inspectors have fulfilled the requisite 26 years of service and four years in their current position, a lack of specific systems or identified vacancies for their promotions was revealed.

The recruitment process, salary levels, and training for women officers mirror those of their male counterparts, but when it comes to promotions, a stark disparity emerges.

Women officers highlighted that while there are no issues with vacancies for promoting men officers, women counterparts consistently face hurdles in this regard. This discrepancy leaves women officers stagnating in their positions for extended periods, while less senior male officers progress.

In an effort to rectify this situation, a proposal was made to allocate 15 per cent of all positions for female representation, considering that over 15 per cent of the Sri Lanka Police Force is comprised of female officers.

The committee further emphasised the urgent need to devise a systematic approach to promotions, ensuring a fair and timely process that addresses the qualifications required for respective positions.

Officials from the Ministry of Public Security acknowledged that proposals for creating new vacancies had been submitted to the Department of Management Services. The Committee Chair recommended that 15 per cent of total force representation in the Police Service be reserved for women officers to mitigate the longstanding issues faced by women in the force.

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