‘If you want to create history, don’t be that good girl,' says Roopa Moudgil at Women on a Mission
Roopa Moudgil, the first lady IPS officer of Karnataka, has been transferred 41 times in 18 years. Yet, she continues to strive on her mission to be fearless in everything she does. Be it arresting Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister in 2004, or reporting about irregularities and corruption in Bengaluru prisons, Roopa believes that one has to do whatever their job demands, and not give in to the societal expectation of what a woman should do.
“If you want to create history, don’t be that good girl. Girls have been told that it is feminine to act shy, coy, and to bend down. Speak up for yourself! Women have been told to be like mother earth who must tolerate everything and never speak against injustice meted out at them. This has to change,” said Roopa, while speaking at HerStory’s Women on a Mission Summit 2019.
Making a mark in male-dominated world
Women go through multiple challenges at workplace, deal with gender biases, late working hours, as well as go through family and societal pressures. Roopa’s message to these women is to not give up on their dreams. Rather, she says, work to make dreams come true, and prove the naysayers wrong by achieving your goals.
“When I appeared for my UPSC exams, a male batchmate told me, ‘what will you women do as IPS officers? It is not a job for you.’ I told him that whatever you men do, we will do better,” she recalls.
Roopa advocates young girls to pursue their passion and not let fear take over their dreams.
Safety concerns often limit girls from going out late at night or stops them from pursuing outstation projects. But, this needs to be resolved and tackled. While it is easy to blame circumstances and challenges, Roopa says she avoids this. Instead, she chooses to make the most of the challenges that crop up.
“We need to be prepared to take risks — risk to fail, to make mistakes, not to be accepted, or even to be ridiculed. We need to face these challenges head on, and it will make us only stronger in this cut-throat world,” she says.
Empower women and avoid stereotyping
Born to a family of IAS officers, it was Roopa’s childhood dream to become an IPS officer. A merit student, she cleared the UPSC examination and secured an all-India rank of 43. She chose to be an IPS officer due to her love for the khaki uniform and all that it symbolised, she says.
“If we have a dream, we have to pursue it relentlessly. And this courage to work towards the dream starts at home. We need to do away with the societal assigned roles of men and women — that young girls help the mother in the kitchen while boys help the father in the market,” says Roopa, who is the Inspector General of Police, Home Guards and Civil Defence.
Women need to celebrate and love themselves. Encouragement to achieve, irrespective of the gender norms, needs to come from the family. And for this, women need to become role models for the younger generation.
“We have to value ourselves and stop putting ourselves last. We are not lesser than men in any domain, and we need to stop listening to anyone who tells us otherwise,” Roopa says.
A big shout out to HerStory's Women on A Mission sponsors – Co-Presenting Sponsor Microsoft, Sequoia Spark, Innovation Valley, NetApp Excellerator,Servify, ZOHO, Meesho, Arctic Fox, DROR, and Gifting Partners WoW, &Me.