Athens: Greek Police Outlaws Women

Posted on May 8, 2006


125004-332461-thumbnail.jpg by melinda elliott

On April 28, Greece’s highest court (Council of State) told the Greek Police Force NOT to hire any more women after ruling "that men were better at fulfilling the force’s tasks."

Are they? Are men better equipped to handle female victims of sexual assaults and sex trafficking, or wife abuse? I sincerely doubt it. I’m sure most women will agree that female victims would much rather to have their cases dealt with by a female police officer. Considering that the majority of all the disgraceful charges brought against the Greek police force recently (rape, torture, corruption, gambling and prostitution), the perpetrators were male, not female.

The Council of State said that only 15 percent of recruits going through the police academy should be women. Some 2,800 women currently serve in the police force — out of a total of 42,848 officers ( 6.5 percent) — and the court said this figure was high enough.

What leads them to believe it’s high enough? Did they do any research on it or did they decide all by themselves that 6.5% is the magic maximum number and that’s the end of it? What are their criteria for making this percentage the ceiling of female police officers on staff?

Explaining its ruling, the court said that the limit was justified because of the nature of police work. According to the court, this demands "a high level of physical fitness and muscular strength, speed, endurance, a large degree of courage and composure — qualities in which men are superior to women."

We may not be as strong or as fast as men in every case but when it comes to endurance, courage and composure I beg to differ. Throughout history, women have endured as much if not more than men. Is there a quantifiable method to ascertain the level of courage anyone has let alone females? Bouboulina would roll over in her grave if she heard this one. As for composure, it’s quite obvious the good Court has not read the Policewomen on Patrol study where it states that "women patrol officers tended to be more effective than their male counterparts in avoiding violence and defusing potentially violent situations."

The court said that policemen are often called on to confront violent situations and catch dangerous criminals, and that women could not be asked to do this "because of the well-known biological differences."

Because we’re not physically as strong as men, we can’t catch criminals? Is that what this statement implies? With all the new technology available to police departments in the 21st century, surely there are positions inside the force which don’t require women to apprehend the most violent criminals by themselves in dark street alleys.

I checked the calendar and I’m still in the year 2006. I can’t speak for the persons who were behind this ruling though, I’m sure the calendars on their desks read 1806.

Photo via Darcy