8 March 2021
The Police Federation of England and Wales today, 8 March, marked International Women’s Day with a series of special interviews involving PFEW reps which highlighted how the Federation works tirelessly on behalf of female members.
Sue Honeywill, vice-chair of PFEW Women’s Group, looked back on the achievements of the Federation in an exclusive video where she discussed the importance of colleagues having conversations with line managers about flexible working. Sue also chatted about her personal experience of juggling being a mother, a Fed rep, and a Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant.
National Chair John Apter interviewed Inspector Ceri Hawe, a North Wales Federation rep, and an Equality Lead. They discussed Ceri’s work securing flexible working for female colleagues who found the demands of shift work difficult to balance with roles as their family’s primary caregivers.
Ceri said: “I was working with one female custody sergeant who had a flexible working pattern in place, but due to a restructure she was told they couldn’t accommodate that anymore. So, she was displaced." Ceri was able to go with this member to her HR meetings and, eventually, she was moved to a role with more flexibility.
John Apter also spoke with Kirsty Dunn, Secretary of Derbyshire Police Federation, on making sure Fed reps ensure more practical changes are made for female members in her force. This included arranging an all-female fitness test to alleviate the anxiety many older female members feel, and ensuring some women officers have access to more comfortable uniform trousers.
Kirsty explained how female member’s voices were impacting successfully on outdated policies which still assumed the average police officer to be male. She added: "It’s all about having members' voices heard. You listen to the member, you find out what the issues are, and you raise the issue accordingly. Policies sometimes are outdated, because historically policing is a male-oriented job and organisation. It takes a while to get up to date to where we are as a community."
International Women’s Day is an event designed to celebrate the achievements of women across the world, as well as acknowledging there is still much work to do. The theme this year is ‘Choose to Challenge’, encouraging people to find ways in which they can challenge entrenched attitudes and blocks on progress towards equality. This theme link links naturally to the work of PFEW - and a phrase that our Fed reps and Women’s Network embody.
Watch John's Interview with Ceri Hawe
Watch John's Interview with Kirsty Bunn