Changes to police exam may be stumbling block for women
By Katherine Wei, The China Post
February 7, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Accusations concerning gender inequality surfaced as the Ministry of Examination (MOE) announced slated changes for future police physical examinations, including a notable lessening in the difference of admission standards between men and women.
The original examination standards require women to finish running/walking 800 meters in 280 seconds and men to finish 1,600 meters in 494 seconds, whereas the new standards call for women to run/walk 1,200 meters in 380 seconds and men to complete the same task in 350 seconds. The change indicates that women now have to finish the same number of laps as men with an additional 30 seconds, at 3.16 meters per second as opposed to the original 2.86 meters.
Commentators have argued that the policy change will decrease the number of women who pass the test. In response, Examination Yuan Minister without Portfolio Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) pointed out the problem is not about gender differences, but the requirements to become a police officer.
The registration for police examinations begins in March; the MOE has also planned to add standing long jump tests to the exam, scrapping the original sit-ups and also lowering the height standards for both genders. The Examination Yuan ministers without portfolio were allegedly torn over the alterations in a meeting held yesterday, and the case was transferred to a team of experts for further evaluation.
Along with Chao, many ministers questioned the need to implement the changes, saying that the alterations were not friendly toward prospective female test takers.
Although the current physical examinations are slightly easier for women, resulting in an additional 4 percent of women passing the examinations over the numbers expected for men, the new changes might be unfavorable for women.
"The question of the examinations should be about whether the job is in need of such physical standards, the MOE is planning to make these changes but these may fail because they do not test the muscle endurance of upper limbs. Countries like the United States, France, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Korea and many more all test for what Taiwan does not," said Chao.
As the changes may lower the admission rate for women, the phenomenon may in turn cause trouble for police forces as there are circumstances in the course of duty for which policewomen may be better suited, said Chao. "Like domestic abuse, child neglect, rape; many of the victims are more willing to cooperate with female officers. But how many female officers do we need? Are there too many or are there not enough currently? The National Police Agency should provide an objective number of the female officers that are needed for the Examination Yuan," Chao finished.