A Woman’s Failures Are Attributed To Her Gender: IPS Officer Roopa

Last updated 22 Nov 2017 . 5 min read

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We women grow up wanting to be many things - doctors, engineers, writers, musicians and artists. But how many of us grow up wanting to be policewomen? Perhaps, not that many. For veteran cop IPS Officer Roopa Moudgil, the seeds of aspiration to join the Indian Police Service (IPS), were sowed by her parents.

A compelling speech by former IPS Officer Kiran Bedi, during Officer Roopa’s NCC days, sealed the deal. She cracked the UPSC exam and was one of the 30 candidates in her batch to make it.

She also made headlines (and several enemies) when as the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Prisons in Karnataka, she exposed corrupt practices at the prison and stood up against some of her own corrupt colleagues.

Such actions take guts and grit. Yet, for a woman cop, gender brings its own set of complications, into the mix.

“A man's failures are attributed to circumstances while a lady's failures are attributed to being a woman,” shared Officer Roopa, during a Twitter chat with SHEROES, as part of our #MeetTheSHEROES series. For those of you who missed the chat, here’s a recap of some very powerful sentiments by the outspoken cop, whose commitment to her job, is unwavering.

We would love to know what inspired you to join the police force...
The idea of joining IPS was sowed by my parents who were both central government employees. I got selected to represent Karnataka NCC directorate in the prestigious Republic Day camp at Delhi, when I was in 8th standard. Then, Kiran Bedi had addressed NCC cadets at Garrison Parade Ground in 1990.

Her speech was highly inspiring. She told us of being an NCC cadet herself and how the selection to Republic Day camp is laborious, having to attend about half a dozen selection camps. The Khaki colour of NCC and Dr. Bedi, reinforced my decision to opt for IPS.


IPS Roopa
IPS Roopa Moudgil

What aspect of your job, being an IPS Officer, do you value the most?
In the Police department, redressal of grievance of a victim is possible immediately, which is very satisfying. This possibility is lesser for other departments, where things take days or months to shape up. This is what I cherish about the department the most.

What are some of the struggles of being a woman in the police force?
Doubting the capabilities of a woman officer while considering her for a post, needs to be done away with. At times, the very next level of subordinates could take the lady officer lightly, for granted and show indifference.

I might sound a bit harsh, but a man's failures are attributed to circumstances while a lady's failures are attributed to being a woman and unable to handle things.

Things are changing for better, however, with more women in the workplace and top positions.

Many women relocate/leave jobs after marriage. But you refused. What gave you conviction to go against the norm?
After getting selected in IPS and bagging UPSC 43rd rank, who would quit? :) About 10 lakh candidates take this exam every year. In my batch of IPS, we were only 30 in number. Nowadays, IPS batches are as big as 150.

Indian women often hesitate to approach the police. What measures could help change this?

Police need gender sensitisation and soft skills training on how to talk to a woman victim. To change the scenario, training is being given. Yet, it has to improve. Secondly, the stigma attached to women visiting police stations, needs to go.

What is your advice to young women who wish to join the Indian police force?
Be focused. There's nothing that a woman can't achieve simply for being a woman. With proper planning, hard work and dedication, the sky is the limit. Or should I say, even the sky is not the limit.

Officer Roopa’s words stirred some deeper sentiments in Pranaadhika who tweeted:  “I don’t recall a single opportunity presented to me as a young student with regard to even thinking of being a cop! I wanted to be one though, received zero encouragement :-(“

Yes, we women are not nudged towards this profession, just as we are not nudged towards entrepreneurship or male-dominated fields like manufacturing, even if we have the inclination and the drive. As of January 2016, India’s police force constituted only 7 % women. If you feel inspired by policewomen like IPS Officer Roopa, you can get all details here. Who knows, with more sincere, committed policewomen, India might just become a safer place for women!

(Note: This Twitter chat transcript has minor edits for brevity and readability

Did you feel you were discourged as a child towards a particular career? Share your stories of defying the norm! 

Merril Diniz
Writer & Conduit4Change | Goan by birth and spirit | Dancer at heart | Soul singer & foodie

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