#Opinion

Kerala IAS Officer Criticised: Why Does Society Question Dedication Of Working Mothers?

Kerala IAS Officer Criticised
Divya S.Iyer’s move to bring her son to a private film festival for her speech on Sunday is a move that has sparked much controversy online. Iyer is a working woman and a high-ranking IAS officer. Critiques like lyricist Rajeev Alunkar and other notable persons criticised her move, questioned her dedication towards work, and deemed it unprofessional. 

Iyer’s husband, KS Sabarinadhan, an ex-state legislator and Youth Wise President was among the first to defend her and conveyed that Iyer took their three and half old child with her as it was an unofficial event being held on a holiday. Social activist Dhanya Raman and writer Benyamin extended their support to Iyer, a working woman, in the face of harsh criticisms. They argued that she is entitled to her private moments and has the right to spend time with her child notwithstanding holding a public office. Raman argued that a child needs a mother growing up. 

Kerala IAS Officer Criticised: Is Iyer Being Criticised For Being A Working Woman? 

Sabarinadhan, Iyer’s husband and spokesperson in this situation took to Facebook to reinstate that Iyer is a dedicated professional who works diligently at her office on all weekdays. She chooses to spend time with her child on Sunday and avoids work on that day. 

When certain work functions could not be avoided and Iyer was forced to choose between two roles, she decided to pick both being a mother and a working woman. But why is she being criticised for owning who she is outside of her workspace when it is not damaging her quality of work? 

Allegations made by critics against Iyer convey sentiments expressing distaste for choosing to mother during a work event. But why is a woman expected to stop being a mother when she works or mother like she has no career? Not all women desire to or have the help needed when it comes to bringing up a child. Mothers who choose to spend ample time with their children and those that do not, should not have to deal with ‘Mom guilt’ or ‘Work guilt’ while considering multitasking. 

Why does society question the dedication of a working woman ?

We need to question the conversation around society’s need to box individuals as single-dimensional and adhering to singular roles. Recently, Infosys HR was asked not to give preference to women with children which broke the news. Such a practice is not only steeped in misogyny and discrimination but reduces the worth of a woman to just being a caregiver. Men do not face similar discrimination on parental grounds during promotions or recruitment because women are expected to be primary caregivers. Such gendered stereotypes and discriminatory practices not only unfairly burden women but also hinder their work prospects in their careers. 

Finnish PM, Sanna Marin had to face the brunt of criticisms after being caught on a video partying with her friends. However, what she does outside of her office hours is private and should not be questioned unless the nature of activities in her private life jeopardises her work. 

“Being a working mother is immensely challenging because any parent, especially those who have to go to work early in the morning, cannot see their kids for hours. It’s not easy. Nobody wants to leave their kid and go to work. I do refer to my filming locations as an ‘office’ because I want Aaradhya to understand that I am a working mother who goes to an office.” expressed Aishwariya Rai in her interview on being a working mother. 

One should not be expected to neglect all the other roles one has in society and let one singular role gain precedence over all other aspects of their life. If one were to play judge and jury, Iyer is simply guilty of being a modern-day woman that refuses to let societal stereotypes overpower her. More power to her for it. 


Suggested Reading: She Can Breastfeed In Public, But She Can’t Party. Why Such Double Standards?

 

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