A study during the pandemic revealed that women are better leaders in a crisis. In fact, women were rated more positively on 13 of the 19 competencies that comprise overall leadership effectiveness.
Women have increasingly been at the helm of administrative affairs in India. Here’s looking at some of the most inspiring women officers who are fierce, dedicated and unbeatable.
1. Pritpal Kaur
The dentist-turned-IPS officer is the SP of Nagaland’s youngest district, Noklak. Noklak shares border with Myanmar and is apparently one of the remotest districts of India lacking in infrastructure.
Going beyond her call of duty, she has taken it upon herself to work for the welfare of locals. She helps students prepare for the civil services exams. For this, she has turned the conference hall of the SP office in Noklak into a classroom.
With the help of the locals, she has formed an anti-drug squad to deal with the menace of drug addiction. She counsels drug addicts and their families on a regular basis.
One Khaki. Multiple Roles— IPS Association (@IPS_Association) May 24, 2020
Dr. Pritpal Kaur IPS, SDPO Tuensang, @DGP_Nagaland , swaps her role as a cop, a doctor, a mentor and a counsellor for de-addiction drives. Dr. Kaur, who is also a dentist, has been dispensing a prescribed drug to treat ‘drug dependence’ #GoodJobCop pic.twitter.com/zWWl8oaTA9
Noklak Police SP Noklak Dr. Pritpal kaur IPS along with others gave Seminar and taught livelihood and skills training (farming, apiculture and vermicompost) to persons undergoing De-Addiction from drugs. Motivated them to choose life & livelihood after finishing their treatment. pic.twitter.com/9e3YezQGEL— Naga Hills (@Hillsnaga) September 19, 2020
2. Swati Bhadoria
District Magistrate of Chamoli, Swati has been at the centre of relief and rescue operations following the glacier tragedy in Uttarakhand. An Electronics and Communication engineer, Swati joined as an IAS in the Chattissgarh cadre and got transferred to Uttarakhand in 2015.
She also caught everyone’s attention in 2018, when she and her husband, also an IAS officer, admitted their 2-year-old son in an Anganwadi instead of a private day-care centre.
Uttarakhand: Chamoli’s DM Swati Bhadauriya enrols her son to Anganwadi Center in Gopeshwar village. DM says,“It’s for his social,mental&physical growth. All children are well-fed&provided with toys&basic amenities,including medical care.Children can have holistic growth here.” pic.twitter.com/3naLHgeuiV— ANI (@ANI) November 1, 2018
3. Ilma Afroz
Inducted into the Indian Police Service in August 2018, Ilma Afroz overcame a lot of challenges and obstacles. Ilma’s father was a farmer in a small town of Moradabad district in UP. She lost her father at 14. She went on to study Philosophy at St.Stephens College in Delhi and even earned a scholarship to pursue masters at the Oxford University.
After quitting her job in the US, she returned to India and started preparing for the civil services exam and secured 217th rank in 2017. Speaking to The Better India, she once said:
My mother taught me the value of hard work. My brother didn’t save money for my dowry. Instead, he spent it on my education. Ammi and bhaiyya made numerous sacrifices to educate me.
Back in her hometown, she has already started helping the underprivileged children.
4. N Ambika
Married at 14 and mother to two daughters at 18, N Ambika went on to clear the civil services examination and became an IPS officer in 2008. Presently the DCP of Zone- 4 in Mumbai, she is popularly known as the ‘Lady Singham’ of Mumbai.
5. Neeru Garg
A 2005 batch IPS officer, DIG Garhwal Range Neeru Garg, led the police operations in Raini and Tapovan areas following the glacier tragedy in Uttarakhand.
Striking a balance between family and work life, she made sure that during her stay at the disaster site, she remained in constant touch with her 9-year-old daughter through video calls as she was taking her exams in Haridwar.
6. Aparna Kumar
A 2002-batch IPS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, Aparna Kumar was the senior-most field officer from ITBP during the relief and rescue operations in Chamoli.
She was also the first woman ITBP officer to successfully scale the South Pole in 2019 along with completing the prestigious seven summits’ challenge by scaling all of the seven top peaks of the seven continents.
7. Harshika Singh
A 2012-batch IAS officer, Harshika has served in various districts of Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. While serving as the Collector of Tikamgarh district in MP, she brought about a great improvement in the gender ratio, female education and maternal mortality rates.
After understanding the underlying cause of all problems, she started all women-schools across 35 Gram Panchayats in Tikamgarh. Following the success of her idea, she carried forward the initiative in the new districts where she was posted.
8. Divya Devarajan
A 2010-batch IAS officer, Divya Devarajan was posted in Adilabad, Telangana during the tribal conflict of 2017. She gained proficiency in the language of tribals in order to address the prevalent issues.
On realising that she could speak their language, the tribals welcomed her and soon she became their favourite and put in great efforts towards resolving the conflict in the region. They even paid their tribute to her by christening a village in her name – Divyaguda.
9. Durga Shakti Nagpal
A 2010-batch IAS officer, Durga Shakti was posted as the SDM in Gautam Buddh Nagar in UP’s Greater Noida in 2013.
Taking on land mafias, Durga conducted midnight raids and she would monitor them herself. She managed to put over 90 illegal miners behind bars and also recovered around Rs 150 crore of royalty within two weeks. Thereafter she faced suspension, but her work had already created the necessary furore and NGT issued several strict advisories against sand mining in India.
Inspired by her story, producers Sunir Kheterpal and Robbie Grewal, also announced a biopic on her in 2019.
10. Swetha Agarwal
Born into a conservative joint family at a time when everyone was desperately expecting a son, Sweta was the first girl from her household to graduate from college. Her father ran a grocery shop to be able to afford her convent school fees.
Despite the narrow mindset of her family, she completed her post graduation and worked with Deloitte. She quit her job and started preparing for the civil services exam. When people asked her to get married and settle, she would say:
I can get married after 32, but I won’t be eligible to write this exam after 32.
11. Tina Dabi
The 26-year-old IAS officer was at the helm of Bhilwara when the district became one of the first Covid-19 clusters to emerge in the country. She and her team made sure that it was put under complete lockdown.
Later, the ‘Bhilwara Model’ was applauded and administrations across the country followed the steps taken by the district authorities in Bhilwara.
12. Annies Kanmani Joy
Daughter of a poor farmer in Kerala, Annies became one of the first professional nurses to be selected as an IAS officer in 2012. Her work as the Deputy Commissioner of Kodagu in Karnataka received widespread appreciation.
Under her, Kodagu became one of the few districts in the country with no new COVID-19 cases for 28 days at a stretch in June 2020. She was also at the helm of the district during the 2019 floods and landslides.
These officers are not only leading by example but also smashing so many age-old stereotypes and inspiring future generations.