The imposition by the Government, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA), as a requirement that all female police recruits must be 1 meter and 70 centimeter, is clearly a measure of discrimination against women, said Opposition Leader, Ralph Regenvanu.
Regenvanu said the requirement is contrary to the government’s statement on the International Women’s Day celebrated this week.
The Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Internal Affairs, Ishmael Kalsakau, when speaking remarked the importance of enabling equal opportunities for all women and men on that special day, Regenvanu said.
“I have appealed to the minister responsible as a national leader to remove the height requirement,” he conveyed.
“It is clearly a discriminative measure against women. The capacity of female police officers does not depend on their height.
“In Vanuatu, women are generally shorter than men. Imposing this requirement is against the principal of providing equal opportunities for women and men and has nothing to do with merit.”
Mr Regenvanu requested the government to consider getting rid of the requirement.
Meanwhile, the DPM and Minister of Internal Affairs, Ishmael Kalsakau, said he finds the Opposition Leader’s statement quite robust.
He said the requirement is not necessary an intent to discriminate since the requirement applies also to men, not only women.
Under the order to allow for this change which was published in the Official Gazette last year, male police recruits must be 1 meter, 80 centimetres.
Minister Kalsakau said the requirement is necessary due to the nature of the work police do.
He said the government, through the MoIA is considering to make recruitment more inclusive through a 50:50 gender share.