Author: Bibby, Claire1
Published in National Security Journal, 05 April 2021
The women did not see the international obstacles as insurmountable, saying that police can influence a gender perspective across the whole aid programme design and planning process. One suggestion was to include gender clauses in partnership arrangements with other countries. Another suggestion was improved pre-deployment training which addressed gender issues. Gender focused monitoring and evaluation systems was also suggested. One woman described the communication challenges of enabling women’s voice to be heard by saying “We can change our behaviour by role modelling overseas and having more women at the table, but the issue will be actually by getting partner police agencies to bring females to the table.”
The men’s perspective
Men were not able to contribute much to this conversation, having previously admitted to knowing very little about the NZ National Action Plan. However, they were aware of barriers and described these as resistance to change and new ideas. “There will al- ways be those who don’t agree, or see women in the roles they were in thirty years ago,” said one man. The men wanted good examples to explain what was required or to be achieved in messages communicating the plan.
Communicating Women, Peace and Security with imagery
The ISG wanted to rebrand the police image of international policing, describing their current imagery as not reflective of their work. An analysis of the ISG pages on the New Zealand Police internet site found that the leading page has no images and other pages have eight tiny images, of which one is a repeat.25 Some of the images were so small that it is unclear whether the people in them are male or female. None of the images had captions to interpret them, making it difficult to understand their context. Three images show NZ Police constables holding children and in 2021, the ‘Current ISG Deployment’ page remains not updated since 2013.26
The ISG were invited to bring images to the focus group that depicted to them international policing at its best. The invitation did not make any reference to gender, as the intention was to see what images were favoured. Most participants said they had difficulty finding images as there was no single source database of suitable images to access. Three women and one man hand-drew their images. One woman sourced her images from a female colleague, who she knew is proactive at taking photographs that are suitable to use. Another woman was concerned about bringing images that she did not have permission to publish. The men accessed images from their personal collections. The staff said there was no policy or practice documentation about using images to publicise and promote the work of ISG. This means that police have no ethical protocols for taking photographs of policing in the international workplace to communicate their work.