Bangladesh calls in women constables to control traffic

DHAKA: Women constables were yesterday posted for the first time to help control traffic in the Bangladeshi capital, a move welcomed by equal rights campaigners in the predominantly Muslim country. 

“It is very good and I am very happy,” said Constable Jannatul, one of the 40 new female traffic officers, as she kept watch over passing vehicles in the capital's Kakrail area during her first day on the job. 

Jannatul said she had served two years in police administration and had taken months of training in traffic control. 

TOWARDS EQUALITY: A Bangladeshi policewoman guiding traffic in Dhaka Sunday. She was one of 40 policewomen deployed for the first time to help control traffic in Dhaka.- Reuterspic

“Today is just the start of a journey as more women will be deployed to control traffic,” said senior Dhaka traffic officer Ansaruddin Khan Pathan. 

He said the women traffic police constables were inducted from the regular police force, where they had worked since the 1980s, as a step to move them to “the jobs where they are needed”. 

The traffic constables would be deployed at eight major points in the city, which was home to some 10 million people and often saw chronic traffic snarls, sometimes forcing the government to call in the army to bring order. 

Rights activist Ferdousi Priyabhashini said she was delighted by the news as it took women another step forward in Bangladesh's male-dominated society. 

“It is still difficult for women to do whatever they want to, but step-by-step they are moving forward (and) ignoring social or religious taboos,” Priyabhashini said. – AFP  

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