Equality
Society 12/01/2022

40% of future Catalan police officers and firefighters will be women

New calls for applications will have no age limit and physical tests will be modified

3 min
Councilors Joan Ignasi Elena and Tània Verge and the commanders of Firefighters, Agents Rurals and Mossos d'Esquadra Etel Arilla, Anna Sirvent and Rosa Gubian

BarcelonaThe percentage of female officers in the Catalan police, known as the Mossos d'Esquadra, does not reach 22%. And yet it is the highest female representation within the Generalitat's three emergency and security forces: women make up 13% of rangers and only 2% of the Fire Brigade. Despite the increase in the presence of women in recent years, the Department of the Home Affairs calculates that without adopting any measures it would take 45 years to achieve parity in the police force, while there would not be parity among rangers and fire fighters until 2101 and 2144, respectively. For this reason, the Department has decided to modify the next calls for vacancies and reserve 40% for women.

HThe measure already affects the call for new vacancies for access to the Mossos d'Esquadra which opened just this Wednesday (845 vacancies, of which 336 will be reserved for women) and will also be applied in the next public offers for the Ranger corps, in April (100 vacancies), and for the Firefighters, in September (240 vacancies). In addition, the The measure already affects the call for new vacancies for access to the Mossos d'Esquadra which opened just this Wednesday (845 vacancies, of which 336 will be reserved for women) and will also be applied in the next public offers for the Ranger corps, in April (100 vacancies), and for the Firefighters, in September (240 vacancies). In addition, Home Secretary Joan Ignasi Elena, has explained that the physical tests will be modified and the age limit will be eliminated to facilitate the entry of applicants who until now had been left out in the last calls. "It is essential to guarantee parity in the security forces, for justice and efficiency, because only by resembling the reality of society can we serve it better," said Elena. According to the Catalan minister of Feminisms, Tània Verge, reserving 40% does not mean that they are "giving away" the places to women, but that "they are simply reviewing criteria that, under a supposed appearance of gender neutrality, have been based on exclusively male parameters", which has meant an "indirect discrimination" towards women, she said.

For Verge, the under-representation of women in the security forces has sent a false "message" to society, as if these positions "do not correspond" to women because they are not "sufficiently prepared" to assume them. "If girls and teenage girls do not see female firefighter role models from whom they can take example, we will not break stereotypes and we will not make them see the profession of firefighter as suitable and adequate for them, we will not have these vocations and they will not apply to the calls," she warned. The presence of female firefighters, police officers and rangers has grown in the last decade: in the 80s it was exceptional or even non-existent, as three of the most veteran women in the corps, Fire Department Commander Etel Arilla, ranger chief inspector Anna Servent, and Mosso superintendent Rosa Gubian have stressed. For example, between 1980 and 1998 there were only five female firefighters, and in the Rangers corps the first one joined in 1992 and was the only one until 2000. In the Mossos the representation has always been higher but does not exceed 22%, and it is much lower if we look at the command line, with only 15% of female sergeants (caporals) and 11% of female chief inspectors (sotsinspectors). The three corps have recently promoted equality plans. The Mossos' plan has 158 measures.

Elena denies a "purge" in the Mossos

HThe The Home Secretary has framed precisely within the objective of the search of equality the last changes in the Mossos d'Esquadra, such as substituting Chief Constable Josep Lluís Trapero and Chief Superintendent Toni Rodríguez at the head of the Information Department. Elena has denied a "purge" in the corps, as the opposition denounced.

Elena has recalled that every time there has been a change at the head of the department it has been translated into replacements in the Mossos d'Esquadra. According to him, this time the replacements and the creation of a headquarters with four commissioners –with new Chief Constable Josep Maria Estela at the head– respond to a "will of choral work" and to the objective of feminising the leadership of the body, where it has gone from 12% to 25% of women. "When the head of the Information Commissioner's Office is changed, no one is purged, these are changes that have always taken place. When the head of the Information Dpt was previously changed three times in one year, it was not a purge, because thousands of people are still working behind then. Changes have always been made," Elena stressed

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