We had the pleasure of chatting to Wendy Wroblewski, Secretary of the Past & Present Women Police Association (PPWPA) to get a better insight into the fascinating history of women in policing.
In October 1993, the PPWPA was formed with Sandy Langlands elected as the first President, filling the gap where the communication between and support for past and present women police members existed.
The Association exists to promote continuing friendship and support between serving and retired policewomen, as well as assist with the co-ordination of educational seminars and conferences pertinent to issues involving women in the police force.
Firstly, Wendy: what does being a woman in policing and the Secretary of the PPWPA mean to you?
I have been retired for 8.5 years after serving for 34 years.
I joined the PPWPA committee in 1997 and then served as President from 1999 to 2012. I remained as a committee member and then was elected Secretary in 2017, a position I still hold.
I continue to be involved because it is important to acknowledge the hard work of the trailblazers who came before me and to stay connected with the many women that I worked with and met during my career.
Could you tell me about the events you run and what they entail?
We have two lunches during the year, one in February and one in October. These are great opportunities for our members to come together for networking, to catch up with former colleagues and make new friendships.
A newsletter is produced quarterly.
We administer the Sandy Langlands Well-being Grants, which perpetuate the memory of Sandy, our first President and life member, and are available for members to assist with goods or services to benefit their physical and psychological well-being.
We administer the Val Walsh Sports Grant, which is to perpetuate Val’s memory and to encourage members to participate in sporting events, such as the Angela Taylor Memorial Run/Walk and Emergency Services Games. These are events that Val supported.
In your time in the PPWPA what have you noticed about women in the police force? Have things changed a lot?
The PPWPA was formed in 1993 to provide the opportunity for past and present women police to communicate, socialise, share friendships and support each other. The PPWPA celebrated its 30th anniversary in October with a lunch attended by 100 members, past and present. The purposes of the Association remain as strong today as 30 years ago.
Since Madge Connor became one of the first female police agents in 1917, the role of women in Victoria Police has constantly evolved, due to the tenacity and dedication of the women who joined. The Equal Opportunity Act introduced in the late 1970’s significantly changed the role of police women who had historically worked in policewomen’s divisions dealing with women and children. From the early 1980’s there has been an increase in the recruitment of women. As at 10 July 2017, 31 per cent of all police officers employed by Victoria Police were female.
Interested in becoming a member? Visit the PPWPA website here: https://ppwpa.com/