Female Civil Guard Officer speaks up for the need for ballistic vests adapted to the female-physiognomy. The Court dismissed the case as gender discrimination, and the Civil Guard agent was sentenced.
Last January, according to El Confidencial Digital, the trial began against the civil guard agent who refused to wear a male-designed ballistic vest during a service on the public highway in Salamanca, in 2016. The agent had commented on the discomfort of carrying out her work using a bulletproof vest that did not fit her physiognomy. Although the captain denied her request to use her own vest, she decided to use it anyway since she felt that the regulation vest did not protect her properly.
The Court declared that there was no discrimination
The captain removed the agent from service and sanctioned her for “lack of subordination” with the loss of 5 working days. She then stated to the Supreme Court that the captain had violated Article 25 of the Spanish Constitution. This would protect her from not complying with the order to wear a male vest due to gender discrimination.
The Supreme Court declared that there had been no gender discrimination, rejecting the agent’s arguments. The Court convicted her for lack of subordination.
Problems with non-adapted ballistic vests have happened before
It is not the first time that ballistic vests have caused problems for female agents of the civil guard corps, who make up about 8% of the institution, according to El Español. In October 2018; Corporal Villacorta was sanctioned with the suspension of employment and salary for a month after she complained about wearing a male’s vest.
She had also previously complained about the lack of vests fitted to the female physiognomy. Instead of providing women with bulletproof vests more comfortable for their body type; the lieutenant director of the Command of Cantabria proceeded to “instruct” the women on how to put on their vests.
Villacorta alleged how the lieutenant director adjusted her vest too tightly, causing discomfort in her chest. Finally, she stood up and the director sanctioned her.
Villacorta is also the first and only woman who is part of the Civil Guard Council. However, the Court did not take her position into account to give her a voice in the matter.
Need for female body armor
These cases indicate the need to incorporate variated materials that fit the different physiognomies of all agents. In such a precarious job and in which such strict protection measures; the agents should have vests at their disposal that would fully protect them.