A multi-sectored and multi-tiered approach is required to effectively address the issue of violence against women. With respect to this gender sensitization training was organised for the police officers in the Rajendra Nagar Police Station Specialised Training Centre. Gender sensitizing is about changing the behaviour and instilling empathy into the views that one holds about the two sexes. These play an instrumental role in facilitating one in examining personal attributes, beliefs and questioning the ‘realities that one knows’.
A gender sensitization training was conducted for the police officers on 2nd January, 2013. The training was conducted by Mr Sudhir Rai. 35 ASI Cadre police officials attended this training session. The objective of the training was to sensitize the participants on gender issues and encourage them to address issues and complaints with a gender sensitive perspective. The training aimed at making the officials understand the psychology of the woman/victim so that they can receive complaints from the complainant in a more sensitive manner. At the beginning of the training the participants were asked to introduce themselves along with an adjective describing themselves. They were asked as to what their expectations and anxieties were with regard to this training session. A resonating response was that they were aware of the reason for these trainings but had reservations on how these trainings would facilitate them in carrying out their duty in an improved manner.
Main focus of the training was to differentiate between gender and sex. Unlike sex which is a biological concept, gender is a social construction consisting of the socially acceptable and prescribed roles that men and women are supposed to follow. Gender stereotyping and gender roles were also emphasised upon, how it is difficult for a parent to encourage their child to step out of the social mould. Gender roles and how these are incorporated in our lives from the very beginning were discussed. Examples of school textbooks which always show a mother in the kitchen while the father is with a briefcase, a shopkeeper inquiring about the recipient of the gift before showing options were discussed. These were used to bring to light that gender stereotyping has become so deep-rooted that we do not even realise it. Further, the prevalent inequality in our society was discussed as to how a woman faces oppression and inequality from ‘Womb to Tomb’. It was explained how issues like female foeticide, treatment at home and society, domestic violence and little opportunities provided treat the women differently. The cycle of oppression was explained so as to highlight the fact that a woman from such a background when comes up to report a crime needs a little more understanding and a better reception from the officials.
The training was kept interactive encouraging the participants to speak up and share their views and experiences. A number of activities like gender quiz, gender fence were conducted. These were conducted with the aim of dismissing social myths and broadening the understanding of the participants. Further, numerous real life cases and incidents were discussed. Later the floor was opened for discussion on any point of anxiety or concern that the participant might have. The overall response of the participants was positive and they expressed that the training was an enriching experience for them.
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