Author: Bibby, Claire1
Published in National Security Journal, 05 April 2021
The women feel that men, including men in NZ Police, could be more supportive of women in leadership. The women want images that move away from traditional gender roles, and to include images that depict men in non-traditional roles. They want careful messaging where women are “not always depicted as the carer and not with children all the time.”
The males provided ten suggestions to use images for communicating the NZ National Action Plan. Men want strong and powerful images that change NZ Police perceptions of New Zealand’s role in international policing. For them, it is important to use images that show where NZ Police deploy internationally, and images for recruiting the right personnel into the ISG and into international policing. They want images that encourage police personnel to see international policing as a development opportunity and of value to the development of their professional career in policing. To illustrate this, they referred to a photograph of a Maori female police officer, holding an infant in her arms whilst serving overseas, which they believed to be an iconic image of women in policing. When asked if this was a good image of women in policing, the men responded as one, that it is. One man said the role of women and children is really important in the Pacific, where much of their international policing contribution is made. In his view, children brought the parents along, and through children, police are able to break down barriers and meet and communicate with parents. This type of imagery bore no relation to how their female colleagues wanted women in policing depicted, suggesting there is value in consulting a gender advisor to develop a communication strategy using imagery.
What messages would imagery communicate about police?
When NZ Police deploy to another country, what message do they want to convey in imagery? Women said the imagery should indicate that police are a guest of their international partners, and don’t operate on their own. The imagery would represent NZ Police “at the table” as a trusted partner. The imagery would be representative of NZ Police demographics and of the host country demographics. It would show different perspectives of policing, involve women in leadership roles, and be in the local environment, or demonstrate a local context.
Similarly, the men value images that demonstrate NZ Police as inclusive with the ability to relate and work with all. These include images that value diversity and gender, and demonstrate sharing, comradeship, looking after each other and acceptance. Men value images that communicate the global focus of the work of NZ Police, and the limitless boundaries of where NZ Police might be asked to provide an international service. It was important to men that the message of the imagery helps people to understand that the NZ National Action Plan is outward looking and globally focused as it contributes to regional security, which in turn contributes to keeping New Zealand a secure environment. The inference from the men is that women’s contribution to peace and security in the Pacific contributes to regional security and New Zealand’s security.