In Conversation with Ms. Prajaktha Neelkanth of the Gender Training Institute
CSR has been conducting gender sensitization training focused towards police officers in Delhi for over 10 years. The goal is to further sensitize officers on gender issues. Through these training sessions, CSR has been able to reach many Delhi police officers in the NCR region and these numbers are constantly growing.
On May 28th and June 2nd, two training sessions were carried out at the Rajendra Nagar Police Station Training Centre in New Delhi. Constable and Sub-Inspector level officers were present for sessions that lasted for three and a half hours.
As CSR does not believe that a lecture-style approach is viable or engaging, these concepts were taught through activities, games, and videos to involve as many people as possible. As most of the Delhi police personnel come from the state of Haryana, Hindi is the predominantly spoken language and the training followed suit as such.
Generally there is always an individual or group of individuals who do not accept the ideologies being presented. But this stimulates discussion and debate amongst the police officers and they end up finding resolutions on their own accord. Additionally, the activities that CSR runs are geared towards letting the trainees think about the issues and develop their understanding in a more sensitized manner.
After a conceptual understanding of gender,the trainers discussed gender stereotypes, institutionalization and power relations within the framework of patriarchy. Through the Power Walk activity, each individual was assigned a role. They ranged from Dalit Women to Rich Male and from trafficked women to junior constable. They incorporated a broad spectrum of genders/classes/castes. The trainees were asked to try to assume the role as much as possible. Following this, various scenarios, phrases, and issues were read out regarding day-to-day lives. If the phrases applied to the role, trainees were asked to step forward. If it did not apply, they stayed still. At the end of the activity, the individuals were very staggered. This provided a unique visual representation of inequality. This is definitely something that people may not necessarily understand until they see it for themselves or have to assume such a role. Feedback sheets were also filled out by trainees and the day was concluded..
Overall, both days were a success with subtle differences between each which is expected. CSR understands the many stressors that police face; long hours, media trials, health issues all lead to the stressful nature of their work. We do not seek to antagonize the police, but we aim to promote cooperation between the public and the police. We seek to humanize victims as well as police officers to create a synergistic harmony. Knowledge is strength, and knowledge about such pertaining issues can only lead to mutual understanding.
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