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Women are being Encouraged to Challenge Sexism in the West Mercia Police Force

Uncover Your Potential is a campaign launched by the Women of West Mercia to encourage women to join the police force and challenge unhealthy gender stereotypes.

The movement is championing gender equality in the midst of Coronavirus by urging prospective candidates to submit applications and encourage parents to challenge their gender biases through home education.

Since its launch last year, the campaign has teamed up with three University of Worcester Creative Media students to make a video celebrating women’s role in the Force.

It has since become part of a regional school campaign aimed at challenging gender biases in primary and secondary schools.

Detective Inspector Elizabeth Warner said: “The idea is that the viewer watches the video with their own pre-conceived ideas. 

“Maybe they unconsciously assume all the staff in the first 22 seconds are male. There is no mention of them being females – it’s left to themselves to check their assumptions.

“We challenge the children to think about their own aspirations, not ones set for them by toy makers, clothes designers, family or authors.” 

Det Insp. Liz says adapting the campaign to the climate of home-schooling and online classes involves encouraging parents to show their children the video and talk about gender stereotypes placed on young boys and girls.  

In the past, Mrs Warner has done several schools assemblies about the campaign and encouraged schools to use the education pack in lessons and assemblies.

Previously, educational resources have relied on gender stereotypes such as colouring sheets which convey a policeman with a dog, a policeman in a fast car and a policewoman kneeling down talking to a child.

“Colouring sheets in the packs have been created by local young female artists and are of female officers often in traditionally male police roles to replace some stereotypical ones in circulation.” 

Detective Inspector Elizabeth Warner

The campaign has also helped to re-launch the Women’s Network in the West Mercia and Warwickshire Police to increase the female representation.

Det Insp Liz said: “I truly believe that it is so difficult to be what you can’t see.  Women are under-represented in the police, and even more so the further up the ranks and in some specialist, roles typically seen as male dominated.

“I have chief officers who are now talking to me about things like menopause, periods and endometriosis and they’re all managers of an older age and they’re sitting down and listening to stuff about this, and that’s what is really key.”

Watch the #uncoveryourpotential video here

Photos and video courtesy of Detective Inspector Elizabeth Warner


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