Sharp rise in number of women gardaí

Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 00:00

More than a quarter of rank-and-file gardaí are now women, with the number of females in the force almost doubling in the past decade.

However, the percentage of women in the ranks of inspector, superintendent and chief superintendent still stands at below 10 per cent. There are no women assistant commissioners, although one of Ireland’s two deputy commissioners is a woman.

Figures provided to Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan by Alan Shatter in answer to a recent parliamentary question giving a gender breakdown of the Garda force show that more than a quarter, or 27.5 per cent, of rank-and-file gardaí are female.

However, at sergeant level, this figure falls to just below 15 per cent.

At superintendent and chief superintendent levels it is even lower: nine out of 10 superintendents and chief superintendents are male, while just 8 per cent of inspectors are women.

At assistant commissioner rank, none of the nine positions is held by a female. However, one of the country’s two deputy commissioner roles is held by a woman following the appointment of Noirín O’Sullivan, a former assistant Garda commissioner, as a deputy Garda commissioner in March 2011. Ms O’Sullivan is the first woman to hold this role.

The number of women in the Garda has increased dramatically since 2003, when there were 1,694 women in the force, to 3,369 today.

Officer ranks

There are 7.64 per cent more females in the force than in 2009. The number of chief superintendents has risen from three to four in the same period, while the number of superintendents has risen from 10 to 15, a 50 per cent rise.

The number of sergeants has increased from 258 to 283 in the past three years, a 10 per cent increase.

Garda numbers for 2003 and 2009 were taken from the Garda Síochána’s Diversity Strategy and Implementation plan for 2009 to 2012.

According to the document, the force is committed to proactively challenging stereotypes and discrimination linked to gender, introducing, for statistical purposes, “equality monitoring” processes based on gender, to measure representation levels in the organisation, the development and implementation of a Garda Síochána gender policy and promoting maternity/ paternity leave benefits for staff.