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Women are more straightforward and willing to take risks, says IPS officer Roopa D Moudgil

At the TransformHERS talk at SheSparks 2024, IPS officer Roopa D Moudgil drew on her own experiences to highlight the challenges women face in the workforce and how hard work and fearlessness have paid off.

Women are more straightforward and willing to take risks, says IPS officer Roopa D Moudgil

Saturday March 16, 2024 , 4 min Read

Fearless, forthright and feisty, IPS officer Roopa D Moudgil is no stranger to fame. Her 24-year career in the Indian Police Force (IPS) was not only one of the many challenges she faced in life but it also catapulted her into the limelight.

Moudgil has reported correction, illegalities, and corrupt practices within the administration. She is well-known for exposing the undue favours and special facilities given to Sasikala, a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2017, while she was in prison.

In her first stint as district police head of Dharwad District in 2004, Moudgil arrested and executed a non-bailable warrant issued by court at Hubli against the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Uma Bharti. She continues the “good fight” and is currently Inspector General of Police – Internal Security, Karnataka.

Roopa Moudgil

Roopa D Moudgil, IPS

Moudgil was one of the TransformHERS at SheSparks 2024, YourStory’s flagship event for women. During her session, ‘Risks, Challenges and Payoffs’, she touched upon the diverse challenges women face in different fields, drawing on her own experiences as a woman IPS officer, taking challenges head-on.

The IPS officer said that even today, women are told how to behave in a certain way.

“We are told not to talk loudly, be submissive, and behave a certain way. We are told not to loiter around or roam like our brothers. We have heard one or all of these at some time of the other,” she said.

She credited her family for raising her and her sister like “boys”—they were given a lot of freedom but were also advised to be responsible.

“Since I was very passionate about the NCC, I was very sure I wanted to join the IPS. Despite a high rank of 43, I still chose to stick to my decision of joining the police services. My relatives however chided my father as to why he let me join the force,” she recalled.

She pointed out that while at the academy for training, women officers were always reminded they were officers first and then women.

“Unfortunately, everything changes when you are posted on the field. Again and again, you are reminded you are a woman. All the energy that is needed in focusing on work is used in fighting these stereotypes and biases,” she said.

Moudgil reminded us that nature has not been kind to women.

“Research says that a woman by nature is built to nurture and to care for others. But when we enter the male-dominated workforce, it becomes very conflicting. We have to assert ourselves, and sometimes be aggressive too. There is so much of emotional and mental energy that is taken away from us,” she elaborated.

Moudgil spoke of the inherent biases that still exist in the workforce, taking the police force as an example. She points out there is no quota for women, women take the same exams as men and undergo the same practical training, but when it comes to postings the scenario is different.

“Even today, people think twice whether a woman can do a certain posting or not. These are biases in the mind because they don’t even ask, 'Would you like to go?'"

She admitted that life has not been easy for her.

“Wherever I go, I expose something, and generally the system tries to do away with the whistle blower because it resists change. And if it’s a woman who talks, exposes and digs into details, you can imagine the harassment she can face,” she pointed out.

She said that there been many notices, memos, orders and defamation suits to “shut her up”.

However, it’s heartening to note that women are different than men in the way they approach work, said Moudgil. According to her, women are more straightforward and willing to take risks.

“We bring positive qualities like care and sympathy and don’t relent easily. Our lives revolve around work and family, and because of this, we are able to say no,” she added.

Moudgil emphasised that clarity of thought helps a woman stick to her principles and move forward.

“If you have nothing personal or a vested interest and are clear about your work, the results will be good. I am happy that my biggest cheerleader has been the public. This keeps me going.

"It all comes down to how you handle the risks, challenges and difficulties. Both bouquets and brickbats will come your way. If your conscience is clear, you don’t have to worry. Ultimately, truth will win,” she said emphatically.


Edited by Swetha Kannan