I am Generation Equality: Periana Bodinaku, one of the pioneer women who first joined the Albanian Police Academy
Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2020
I am Generation Equality because…
Since I was in junior high, I decided to be a police officer. It was 1991, Albania had just overthrown the communist regime and there were no women in the police force. My father did not take my passion seriously thinking that it would fade in a few months. Two years later he was taken completely by surprise when I told him I wanted to enroll in the police academy. This was a shock for my family and my relatives. I was an excellent student, and everyone was expecting me to be a doctor, especially my mother who was disappointed by my choice. My first battle was with my family, but I had made up my mind and I wanted to achieve my dream at whatever cost. At this point my father agreed and respected my decision, helping me along the way to achieve the impossible.
Three things you can do to ensure gender equality in police:
- Break gender stereotypes that link police or leadership to masculinity
- Invest and believe in young girls and inspire a generation of leaders at all levels and in all roles
- Never give up your dreams. You have the power to achieve what you believe in.
A letter to the President
I was setting up a precedent, I was defying stereotypes and there were many gaps and barriers at institutional level. The first person I met was Skënder Doda, the Director of the Police Academy in ’93. He was the only person who never questioned my potential, was very open minded and besides, he lobbied to encourage other girls to apply for the first time in the Police Academy. While I was trying to leave no stone unturned, going from one public office to the other with my father, asking for my equal right to participate in the state police, I encountered discriminatory attitudes and disbelief. But the final verdict remained with the President of Albania. At that point I wrote him a letter, demanding to have the same job and career opportunities as men and boys, fair access to education and equal participation and contribution in a democratic society.
The response was positive. My father gave me the news. It was the most beautiful day in my life. In only five months we managed to pave the way for many future women police officers. The first 25 girls were admitted at the Police Academy that year, together with 75 boys.
“Today, none of my girl classmates is in a leadership role, despite their distinguished academic results.”
More women in leadership roles
I remember that at school we were all equal. There was no discrimination between girls and boys. But today, none of my girl classmates is in a leadership role, despite their distinguished academic results, dedication to the work in a very challenging environment and achievements. While the male police officers of my generation enjoy high ranking positions. In the future I hope to see more women and girls in leading positions and on top of public life because I know they have potential, knowledge and professionalism.
Periana Bodinaku worked at the state police for three years. She has then graduated at the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of History. Today she works as a notary.