Cairo police gains `feminine element'

Women have broken into a male bastion in this largely Muslim country -- the police force. They are not pounding the beat on Cairo's dusty streets. But the 25 young female police lieutenants, all university graduates, are working in law-and-order jobs ranging from passport inspection to crime investigation.

Employing women for the police force had become ``a requirement of a civilized country,'' said Gen. Abdel-Ghaffar Khater, director of the specialized police academy in Cairo.

``It has also become socially important to have the feminine element among our ranks because they can handle certain tasks better than men,'' said General Khater.

The plan is experimental and the authorities have an eye on public reaction. ``If it proves a success, we will employ more girls,'' Khater said.

Apart from a handful of doctors and nurses in military hospitals, they are the first female uniformed officers in Egypt.

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