A traffic cop from Chandigarh has caused debate on social media after videos of her performing her duties on a busy intersection while holding a baby went viral on Friday. The constable, named Priyanka, was filmed by locals near her roundabout and photos soon went viral on social media. While many praised the woman for the grit and dedication she showed toward both her jobs as a cop and a mother, many questioned felt the incident reflected the lack of resources and obstacles women, especially mothers, face at work due to gender-insensitive institutions.
According to a report in The Tribune, the constable and another cop were supposed to report to duty at the intersection of sector 15/23 at 8 am but the duo failed to do so. Priyanka was pulled up for her absence and asked to report to her spot.
It was after this that Priyanka decided to bring her baby to work. According to the report, the staff at Traffic Line at Sector 29 asked her to go home and take leave if she needed to. The constable, however, went on with her duty with her baby on her hip.
Initially, social media was full of praise for the cop. Journalist and Twitter user Gagandeep Singh tweeted a video of the same and said, “hats off to her spirit".
Chandigarh Police Constable Priyanka Controlling the traffic with her baby in her arms at Sector 23-24 Intersection.Hats off to the Spirit 🙏 @ssptfcchd pic.twitter.com/UoRGbH5d8q— Gagandeep Singh (@Gagan4344) March 5, 2021
Critics, however, feel the video reflects the poor infrastructure available to working mothers in India who are often forced to choose between their families and their careers. The incident once again reflects the unequal distribution of labour when it comes to child care.
Oh bullshit! Please. This woman should have access to a crèche and proper child care while she is on duty. Her State Govt should be ashamed for not providing it. Don’t glorify helplessness & exploitation. It forces women to subject themselves & their kids to such dangers. https://t.co/BvPMnyMEok— Mona Ambegaonkar (@MonaAmbegaonkar) March 6, 2021
98 year old man sells chana, we praiseA traffic constable works with her baby in arms, we appreciate An IAS brings her 14 day old baby to work, we applaudMaking a virtue of our failings to provide for senior citizens, facilities for working mothers has become an art.Must stop.— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) March 6, 2021
Chandigarh Police @DgpChdPolice should rather inquire why did she have to bring the baby on duty under such harsh & dangerous circumstances. This is not matter of “spirit” but shame that we can’t provide child care facilities to our men and women on duty. https://t.co/eNhaauTu79— Yo Yo Funny Singh (@moronhumor) March 6, 2021
Most were in support of the fact that women police officers need to be provided daycare and creche facilities for their children.
This trend of taking small babies to duty place need to be discouraged. Traffic duty while holding the child may look good on social media but its clearly unsafe for the child.Police in every state has large number of women personnel now. We need crèches. Not this bravado. https://t.co/5cF0C8Bu5W
— Arun Bothra (@arunbothra) March 6, 2021
Sorry but this is a misplaced sense of duty. A baby in the arms of a traffic policewoman in the middle of busy traffic is bad and irresponsible parenting. It’s dangerous! There should be complimentary daycare for children by the departments. That should be the goal. Not this. https://t.co/4MocRENObu
— Junaid Azim Mattu (@Junaid_Mattu) March 6, 2021
Following the outrage, Chandigarh’s DGP Sanjay Baniwal responded on Twitter, stating that the cop had just returned from maternity leave after the birth of her child and that she had the option of child-care leaves. He also said that a request for transfer to a desk job will be considered if she so chose.
She has joined after maternity leave and has option of child care leave. Presently she is posted in police lines and any request for desk job, if given, will be taken into consideration.The matter is in the notice of @ssptfc and report has been sought from concerned officer— DGP Chandigarh Police (@DgpChdPolice) March 6, 2021
According to a recent report compiled by LinkedIn titled the Opportunity Index 2021, it was found that 4 out of 5 working women (85 per cent) missed out on a raise, promotion, or work offer because of their gender.
The survey was commissioned by LinkedIn and conducted by the market research firm GFK. The respondents were between 18 to 65-year-olds, and they replied to questions online. In total, there were more than 10,000 survey participants from across the Asia Pacific region: Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. The survey covered 2,285 respondents specifically from India, out of which 1,223 were males, and 1,053 were females.