It's no secret that women in the 21st century are still having to deal with gender-based hurdles in their day-to-day life. While a man with both children and a profession would never be called a "working father", women in the workforce are not only expected to juggle both domestic and professional duties but are also criticized if one overlaps the other.
An IAS Officer from Kerala is sparking debates online after carrying her son in her arms while delivering a speech. On 31 October, District Collector Pathanamthitta took to Facebook to share some pictures of her attending the closing ceremony of the Sixth Adoor International Film Festival. Even though her note had no mention of her son, the pictures show him in her arms during her speech.
While the original post did not initially trigger much discourse, a clip of the IAS officer and her three-and-a-half-year-old son, Malhar - posted by NDTV - went viral and courted mixed reactions from netizens.
Speaking to Times Now, Pathanamthitta clarified that the public event was a socio-cultural function and not an official proceeding. She also stated that her son waited patiently until it was her time to head to the podium to address the crowd. The District Collector said, “I don’t know what got the better of him as he came running to me at the dais.”
I’m a 24×7 mum and a 24×7 District Collector. We women take on 24×7 roles in life, where we cannot afford to do shifts.IAS OFFICER PATHANAMTHITTA
As soon as the clip went viral, netizens were divided in their opinions about the situation. While some lauded her for prioritizing both her professional and motherly duties; some found it bizarre that an IAS officer couldn't find anyone else to take care of her son and instead, decided to bring him to a work event; while few were simply confused about why this was sparking any debate.
A Twitter user wrote, "Had it been a man this would have blown up with everyone singing praises as to how he is handling his job with his kids as well" while another commented, "Stop this nonsense of mixing work with kids."
Here are some more reactions: