Monday, May 11, 2009

Policewomen in Gaza

Despite my skepticism regarding anything police force related this is semi-cool:

There's the uniform, for instance, in a society where ultra-modest dress codes mean the typical female apparel is a long wide gown, or Jilbab, and head scarf. Sometimes it's even a face-covering veil with only a slit for the eyes.

The new female police force in Gaza--formed a year and a half ago, with about 1,000 police officers and growing--adapts by wearing a long, dark blue skirt, a blue tunic and a head scarf.
. . .
"I believe that my colleagues and I are doing a big favor for people in Gaza by protecting women and giving them more privacy. We also help our male colleagues when raiding houses of suspected drug dealers or criminals."

Aisha Abu Nada, 50, is an investigator in the new female division. The mother of seven said that unlike many of her colleagues, her family didn't offer any opposition.

She attributed that to her background as a practicing lawyer. She said she changed fields because she wanted a new experience and thought that she could help her community by serving in the police force. Nada said two of her daughters have joined the force, with her encouragement.

Nada, however, has had to give up her new line of work. Her house was badly damaged when an Israeli warplane shelled a neighbor's house. After that she decided to stay home to take care of her younger children, who were badly upset by the attack, and to help rebuild their home.

In an interview before he was killed in the police compound attack in late December, Tawfiq Jaber, director of police in Gaza, spoke highly of the progress the force had made in establishing its female forces and gaining surprisingly widespread social support. "In a very short time we have gone very far with the female division, which means we are on the right track."

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