: 'Women in Ukranian police' photo exhibition opens in Kyiv
Society17:48 Mar. 27, 2016
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'Women in Ukranian police' photo exhibition opens in Kyiv

Photographer Misha Friedman presents his work about the role of female police officers

'Women's role in Ukraine's new police' photo exhibit opened in Kyiv this Friday. The exhibition by an American photographer Misha Friedman is a part of Docudays UA, an International film festival on human rights. More than a hundred photos are presented here. First briefing, first sparring, first shot - almost a routine for a female officer. Friedman says the high number of women doing what many thought to be a men's job is a sign of a change in the Ukrainian police.

Misha Friedman, photographer: "In a country where male chauvinism exists, where domestic abuse is so high, having women in uniform, having women patrolling streets, you know I live in a state where their presence is significant, I know if a reform is successful, the women will be at the center of it."

According to several statistics, the number of women in Ukraine's police force is at about 30 percent. Patrolling groups always consist of one man and one woman. They don't divide their responsibilities based on gender. Oksana Kapytanska works as a patrol officer. She says her male colleagues treat her as equal but don't forget she's a woman too.

Oksana Kapytanska, police officer: "It's interesting for me because they are strong men who can help me in difficult situations.They don't use me as a usual officer, they understand that I'm a woman, and I think it's great for our work."

Read also Women Warriors: supporting the war effort in eastern Ukraine and fighting for equality

Misha Friedman's exhibition attracts not only average citizens, but also other police officers. Male servicemen say the presence of a woman often helps de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation.

Ivan Karpenko, police officer: "I really like working with women, they supports me morally like no man could, because guys can only help with physical aggression, and women help morally and psychologically."

Male and female officers call on women to join the ranks of the newly-created force. They say women's presence in the official Ukrainian institutions remains low. Exhibitions like this one can help bring this issue to the forefront.

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