THE decision by the Australian Federal Police to run a female-only recruitment round has caused major backlash online.
Shortly after Thursday's announcement on Facebook that the AFP was "unashamedly targeting women" the angry comments came flooding in by the thousands.
The supplementary round of hiring is being implemented in an attempt to meet the 50-50 gender targets for the Australian police force that were introduced last year by Commissioner Andrew Colvin.
Women currently make up 22 per cent of sworn police and 13.5 per cent protective security officers and the AFP's goal is to raise that statistic to 35 per cent by 2021.
But many social media users were not impressed with the new push for more female recruits, calling the initiative discriminatory.
"It should be the best person for the job, not hiring women because they're women ... THAT is sexist," one user wrote.
Another said: "This is unacceptable. I am paying your organisation, involuntarily, to discriminate AGAINST me.
Taxation without representation is what caused the revolutionary way in 1776."
"AFP you have rejected highly competent male applicants to push this 'Equality' agenda. That isn't a guess, it's a fact. I know several of them personally," one commenter said.
"Recruitment should be performance based, not some kind of social experiment. You are meant to be a professional law enforcement agency. Clearly you aren't."
Some people raised concerns that the special recruitment round would mean that female candidates would get hired over more qualified male candidates because of their gender.
But the AFP has assured them that all applicants go through the same process and would only be hired if they meet professional standards.
Just as there were those that opposed the decision, there were also users who defended and praised the AFP for their initiative in encouraging more women to enter the force.
"I for one am totally proud of the AFP taking the initiative to try and create an equal balance of genders in their force," said one Facebook user.
"The fact that this thread has brought out all the trolls, haters, and men & women alike harbouring internalised misogyny drives home the point that gender equality is still a fight worth fighting for."
"Females make up 50 per cent (give or take) of the population and if a police agency wants to truly represent the community they serve then it seems only logical that they have a staffing level of 50 per cent (give or take) females," another person commented.
Acting Commissioner Leanne Close hopes that this additional hiring round will attract around 1000 female applicants, according to the ABC.
To reach their 2021 goal of increasing the number of women in the police force by 13 per cent, the AFP will have to employ 600 more women over the next four years.
"What we are not doing is recruiting enough women to reach the targets that we want by 2021 … so we are actively marketing out there to really target those women who would be keen for a great, challenging and really diverse career," Acting Commissioner Close said.
"It's not trying to exclude men at all."
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