Judging from a spate of recent initiatives, a concerted effort is being made by city and state authorities to shift the gender equation of Guadalajara and Jalisco’s transportation and law enforcement sectors away from where they are now: almost exclusively dominated by men.
Among these entities are Semov (the state’s traffic department), looking to hire women to both work against corruption within the department and get behind the wheels of the city’s fleet of battle-scarred buses, and the Jalisco Attorney General’s office , which has formed a special corps of women to try and put a more “friendly face” on the state’s oft-maligned police force.
Working from the assumption – which Semov claims is backed by research – that women are less susceptible to bribes and other forms of corruption, the traffic department has begun training 200 female recruits to occupy various departmental vacancies throughout its organism, both white collar and street level.
The training lasts six months, two of which will consist of on-the-job tutelage. Upon the trainees’ completion and subsequent integration, the state agency’s population of women will rise to 800 – now almost half of Semov’s entire employment roster (this is because many male officers have been dismissed in recent years for untrustworthiness.)
Semov is also busy instructing a crack team of 80 women to infiltrate the overwhelmingly male-dominated, wild west-like bus driving culture. The recruits were picked after passing a series of educational, psychological and physical exams, and for having the required minimum of four years’ employment behind the wheel of some sort of vehicle.
Semov Director Servando Sepulveda Enriquez explained that the 80 women are just a small sample of what will be an ongoing hiring process – they hope to incorporate 600 during the program’s first stage.
Finally, in a move that directly addresses the issue of women’s safety from harassment and violence, the state’s Attorney General’s Office has formed the Agrupamiento Feminil Metropolitano (AFM), a corps of 23 women with the moniker “Las Minervas,” whose goal is to help make life on Guadalajara’s streets more hospitable to the distaff side.
While many of the women selected for the AFM have between three and 12 years’ prior experience in law enforcement, each recruit undergoes a month of rigorous training.