For the first time, 50 women graduated from Iraq’s police officer training academy yesterday, alongside 1,050 male peers. Prior to a change in the Iraqi government’s rules earlier this year, women were barred from joining the elite officer’s corps and were instead only allowed access to low-level police jobs like directing traffic or searching women at checkpoints, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Graduating First Lieutenant Farah Hameed told the New York Times that especially in investigating crimes like sexual abuse and rape, women police officers are more likely to be effective than men. “Everyone says men are able to do everything, but that’s not true…In investigations, especially with women, women use their compassion with victims to get them to answer questions clearly,” she said.
“Some people have a view of Iraqi women that for them to join the police academy is a shame,” graduating First Lieutenant Alla Nozad Falih told the New York Times. Many of the women graduates received threats from men in their communities while they completed training. Despite these threats, Lieutenant Falih said, “It’s been my desire since I was a kid to be a police officer, and now I am one…We are proud to be officers, and we encourage other women to be officers because it’s a great job.”