Author: Bibby, Claire1
Published in National Security Journal, 05 April 2021
When asked what messages there are about gender in their imagery, the men said their images showed positive messages, of NZ Police sharing, working well together, and a team approach. They said the fact there were no women from NZ Police in most of the images they selected, is because their presence was not in the country at that particular time, although they had been present in the past or were appointed for upcoming roles. They felt their imagery demonstrated that all police personnel have a contribution to make toward New Zealand and regional security.
In contrast to the men, when the women talked about their imagery and their inter- national policing experiences, they expressed concern about police leadership. “Operating overseas can be difficult because of lack of traction!” one woman said. “We are there but the positive impact is negligible.” “Leadership is primarily a male thing in the Pacific. If there were more women in leadership, things would be better,” said another woman. One of the women expressed concern that the only female leaders seated at the table in discussions, were the NZ Police representatives. Without access to women leaders, the women from NZ Police felt they could not do their job effectively. “Women bring a different perspective. If you provide assistance to women, they will make sure the family benefits from it as well. This may not happen if the male receives the assistance,” one woman explained.
These findings suggest that the role of a gender advisor, for example, working with the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police, would benefit in developing a communication strategy with imagery to support the work of MFAT, NZ Police and the local police.
Selecting the right images for the right message
The women provided 23 suggestions on how images could be used to communicate the NZ National Action Plan. The women want images that depicted strong women, women conducting a briefing, women directing work, women taking the lead and images that presented “the reality of what women do.”
They want more images of women in the Pacific seated at the table participating in decision making with men, women doing police work, women in leadership roles and women as role models. They recommend that images are selected with care, are gender inclusive and normalise equal gender participation. They want images that depict the work of their international police development programmes and the direction NZ Police want to move toward, such as developing more female leaders with partner countries. It was felt the images should demonstrate the different activities NZ Police deliver to host-country police and communities, such as mentoring, peacekeeping and disaster response. They want to show NZ Police in all types of mission roles across the spectrum of leadership, training and operational policing. It was felt images such as these should demonstrate the different ways policing could be delivered, using or applying a gender perspective and gender representation.