A retired Police Commissioner, Gifty Anin Botwe has revealed that there is discrimination against women in the Ghana Police Service. She added that women had to work twice harder than their male counterparts to be recognised just half way.
In a conversation with Nana Ansah Kwaw IV on pm: EXPRESS Personality Profile on Multi TV, the Officer recalled "some promotions were made and I was left out, my colleagues and even those behind me were promoted".
"It was very difficult and challenging for those who had overtaken me to perform while I was at the Headquarters," she lamented.
Gifty Anin Botwe added that she stayed in a position as an Assistant Commissioner for more than seven years, even though she was qualified for a promotion.
According to her, this happened at the time when she was Director at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), saying she was bypassed with no adverse findings against her, but kept her silence without challenging anyone and continued to work.
At the time of transfer from the Headquarters to the Education Unit "to make room for people to operate" she was posted down to a position designated for the rank of a Deputy Superintendent.
"I was a third level Deputy Commissioner, pending Commissioner of Police and to send this woman down to the level of a DSP was very humiliating".
She said she was called by an acting Interior Minister at the time, and told to hand over her office, after which she was sent to the Education unit. Mrs. Botwe said when she got to know she had been discriminated against and went to the Interior Ministry to ask questions, she was told it had to do with regional balance, an explanation, which did not add up, in her view.
This move, according to her, raised many concerns amongst certain individuals and female groups, including FIDA (Women Lawyers Association), which led to her elevation as Commandant of the Police College, a position she combined with her role at the Education Unit.
The retired Commissioner again revealed that, during her period in office, there was no way a woman could go beyond the position of Assistant Commissioner before retiring. At the period of the Beijing Conference in 1995, with the help of other women groups and individuals including the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, who was then the head of the women advocacy group, a proposal was written and that was the period of breakthrough for women in the service.
Her experiences toughened her up and she never gave up in spite of all her challenges as a woman. On her assumption of office as Commissioner, she returned to Headquarters where she made major changes and transfers of officers who had been in the same positions for long periods to avoid corruption and ensure the ethics of the profession were upheld.
With all her numerous transfers, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, she became the first female Police officer in many positions: first female to set up the Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) , now Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service (DOVVSU); first female Commandant of the Police Training College; first female Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) ; the first female Director of the Passport and Immigration department in UK and the first female Secretary of the Road Safety Committee.
The retired Officer called for support from colleagues, husbands and clinical psychologists attached to such institutions to interact regularly, and help vulnerable women out of their predicaments. This is because the Police Service is not exempt from sexual advances from male counterparts.
Mrs Gifty Anin Botwe served in the Ghana Police Service for over thirty years and attended over forty courses, both local and International until she retired as a Commissioner in 2009.