The Royal Police Cadet Academy in Thailand is no longer allowing women to enroll. What’s worse about this decision is that representatives from the Academy have not provided the public with any reasoning for this blatantly sexist decision.
Starting in 2019, RPCA will only accept male applicants. When asked about the decision, RPCA Captain Worawut Sripakhon stated, “It’s policy. We’re not allowed to give any more information than that.”
In a country filled with domestic violence, harassment, and sexual assault cases that go unreported, limiting the number of women officers around the country is extremely unprogressive.
Reuters reported that “in Thailand, nearly 90 percent of rape cases go unreported to the police, and rape is sometimes legitimized based on a woman’s past sexual history, according to a study published last year by U.N. Women.”
By banning women from enrolling in this police academy in Thailand, there will be a smaller amount of women officers available around the country. This will lead to fewer women coming forward to report their experiences with sexual harassment and assault, especially since Thai law requires rape victims to be interviewed by women police officers.
The RPCA is being called out for breaking gender discrimination laws. Thailand’s Gender Equality Act directly states that “‘[u]nfair gender discrimination’ means any act or omission of the act which causes division, discrimination, or limitation of any right and benefit either directly or indirectly without justification due to the fact that the person is male or female or of a different appearance from his/her own sex by birth.”
This decision goes directly against that act, considering this police academy in Thailand is directly banning women from becoming officers without even providing justification. This isn’t to say that any justification would feasibly explain why women cannot become police officers.
Additionally, activists around the country are disturbed by the Academy’s decision, fearing that women will be more at-risk with a decreased amount of women police officers.
“It is gender discrimination. There are already too few female police officers, and now this rule will further reduce those numbers. It is a big setback for sexual assault and domestic violence cases, which are hugely under-reported in the country,” stated Usa Lerdsrisuntad, director of the Foundation for Women Organization.
This police academy in Thailand has made a terrible choice by banning women from enrolling to become officers. Not only is it incredibly sexist and discriminatory, but women who are victims of violent crimes may no longer feel safe coming forward to report what has happened to them.
It is safe to say the RPCA has disappointed women across Thailand and all over the world.
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