Women Cops in Iraq

Via the Women’s Media Center, from UPI:

An unprecedented number of Iraqi women have started training to become police officers at the Kirkuk Police Academy, officials say. 

The 37 female recruits who began their training Saturday are the first women at the academy in a year and their numbers are unprecedented, the American Forces Press Service reported Monday.

An academy officer said female officers are badly needed because Muslim customs do not allow men to touch women. The female officers will allow searches of women at checkpoints and government buildings, he said.

In addition, the academy officer said, “women think differently than men. They will bring fresh ideas to how we conduct business.”

For the recruits, becoming a police officer is both a chance to earn a good wage and to serve their country. They hold no truck with terrorists.

“Terrorists are not welcome in the province of Kirkuk,” said one 29-year-old recruit who goes by the name Intesar. “They are not Iraqis; they are not Muslim. It is not our way. They are mad.”

An Iraqi police recruit earns about 185,000 Iraqi dinars monthly — about $81 in U.S. currency — and after graduating will make 500,000 dinar — about $360.

The female recruits must meet the same standards as men to graduate.

I’m trying to figure out whether this is a “good” story or a “bad” story.

The amount of money being paid to these cops is paltry, male or female.  Better than nothing I suppose.  But paltry, considering the risks involved.  But yup, you can get people to work for very little when there are no options.

And speaking of options, what options do these women have?  Aaron Brown’s excellent documentary on Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan played on PBS tonight and he noted that many Iraqi women and girls have been virtually forced into prostitution and other forms of sex trade work in Syria and Jordan because they have either lost husbands and fathers to death or kidnapping in Iraq or because they’ve been abandoned after having been raped.  Hard to believe that some of those female cops aren’t in similar positions and have just as little choice about taking on this equally high-risk work.

I’d hate to think that some of these women could end up doing prostitution work themselves someday.  To say nothing of what it does to women (and men) to do work that puts them in a position of having to harass their fellow Iraqis on behalf of the Bush administration.

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