Blog: “I chose to be a rep because I saw women being treated unfairly”

Police on Parade 2007 - by Chris Eason via Flickr
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“I chose to be a Fed rep because I saw women being treated unfairly”

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Federation elections are coming in 2018 and we want more women to stand to be reps so that their voices can be heard. Sam Roberts, Interim National Board member and chair of the Women’s Reserve, insists she does not want to burn her bra, just see fair representation.

I have been a Federation representative for almost 20 years. I specifically chose to represent women, not because I am a feminist or thought it would be an easier option, but because I could see that women were not being treated fairly.

29% of police officers are female (Police Workforce, March 2017), whereas around 11% of Federation representatives are. Of the 86 Branch chairs and secretaries heading up the Boards for each force, 14 are women. While I am not for a minute suggesting that men are not able to represent the views of females, I do think we women should be proportionately represented across the Federation, and some ladies have issues that they would prefer to discuss with a female rep: menopause, sexual discrimination, post-natal depression, to name just a few.

There are so many excellent female officers out there – 36,000 to be precise – who need and want their voices to be heard. We hold two Women’s meetings at our national centre in Leatherhead each year and we always have a really excellent turn out of female officers of all ages from around the country – this way the important issues for female officers can be brought to the fore at a national level. It is vital that the voices of these ladies’ are heard, and I want there to be more of them.

More details on the 2018 election process and how to stand to be a Fed rep will be available soon. For the first time, mechanisms will be in place to ensure a minimum representation from under-represented groups. But these mechanisms only work if individuals from these groups stand for election: there needs to be people who want to make a difference and are willing to take these places.

We Fed reps all want what is best for our members; for officers to be treated fairly and for someone to be there for them when they are not – that’s our job. So ladies (and gents), encourage your female colleagues to consider standing for election as a Fed rep. Be heard as part of #YourFederation.

Find out more about the skills you could learn and the opportunities available to you as a rep on our Reps@Work campaign page, and read members’ accounts of how their reps have helped them in their time of need.

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