Iraq Disarms Female Cops

Rising conservatism undoes US push for more women in law enforcement
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2007 12:15 PM CST
Graduates of an Iraqi police academy celebrate during a graduation ceremony in Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007. Female officers have been ordered...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The female officers the US worked so hard to bring into the Iraqi police force are being undercut by the Interior Ministry, the Los Angeles Times reports. Policewomen have been ordered to turn in their guns or go without pay, a move a US liaison says will undermine pat-down searches and rape investigations.

Critics blame religious and cultural conservativism in the post-Saddam government. Already frustrated by the lack of advancement opportunities and harassment by male officers, many female officers fear for their own safety. "We face kidnapping," said one. "We could be assassinated." She added: "How can I be a policewoman without a weapon?"