Cressida Dick reveals she has experienced sexism since being appointed Scotland Yard

Sep 25, 2019 lpxpninp

first_imgCressida Dick has revealed that she has encountered sexism since being named the first female head of Scotland Yard.The 57-year-old, who last year became the first female Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in its 189-year history, said men can struggle with working with a female boss who they think of as either a “governness or dominatrix”.Ms Dick said that she still meets men who seemed “threatened, baffled and confused” by her position.She said: “I long for the day when we can all be ourselves, whoever we are, and express ourselves in whatever way we like, and we don’t have these kinds of funny constraints in our heads that make us feel ‘Ooh, there’s a different power relationship because that’s a man and that’s a woman’.  And we still get that. It’s not helpful.”The Commissioner, who took a £40,000 pay cut to lead the country’s biggest police force, also described rising through the ranks of the Met in a “very male-oriented environment”. Cressida Dick with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last year at the launch of a new Knife Crime StrategyCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA In an interview at the launch of a leadership academy, she said: “It was at least 25 years since I thought regularly about the fact that I was a woman, doing this job. I think about it when people remind me. But I have on occasion suddenly realised that some men feel slightly threatened by, or slightly baffled by, or confused by, possibly even now, by having a woman in . . . a very powerful role. She said she feels fortunate to have been given “confidence” as a child, but fears more and more children are not being instilled with the same self-belief.“One of the things that I feel very blessed about is that I was given a fair amount of confidence as a young person and I constantly meet young people, even today, maybe even more today, when it is clearly not a given that they will have a reasonable amount of confidence.“It’s incredibly important that it doesn’t develop into arrogance. But a sense of — in old-fashioned speak — ‘I am OK, I do deserve to be here, I can do what I want to do, I can be myself, I can express myself’ is really important as you go into the working world.” Cressida Dick with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last year at the launch of a new Knife Crime Strategy “It must be very odd for [men]. There are now women at every level in every part of policing.”Ms Dick, who gave a keynote speech at the launch, recalled a talk she attended with other officers by the second female director of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller.She was surprised, she said, when colleagues began “talking about her [Manningham-Buller] as if she was a governess or a dominatrix”.Since her appointment in April 2017, Britain’s top police officer has presided over several terrorist attacks, a rise in violent crime and the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img

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