“A policewoman? What kind of a job is that for a girl?” Iram’s relatives would ask her mother. At the time, TCF alumna Iram from Kalabagh, Punjab, was training to become a patrol officer with the National Highways and Motorway Police – an occupation generally considered unconventional for women in her community.
Raised by a single mother, from a young age life had not been easy for Iram and her sisters. While their mother had enrolled them at the TCF school near their home, Iram’s father and relatives did not approve of their education. It’s a waste of money to educate girls, they said. Along the journey, Iram and her sisters found strength in their mother, who worked day and night as a tailor and domestic help to provide for her family.
“Growing up there were days when ammi (mother) hardly had money to buy food. But she told us that these days will pass once we are educated and on our feet,” recalls Iram. “My principal, Ms. Saeeda, also offered us a lot of support through fee concessions for me and my sisters,” she adds.
The day Iram learned she had aced her training and was appointed a junior patrol officer, she heard from her father after nearly nine years. He called to tell her that he was proud of her. Today, when Iram visits her mother back home, she hears the same people who used to mock her mother now tell their daughters to follow in her footsteps.
“Like in any other field, the presence of women in Motorway Police is equally important. There are so many female passengers that call out for help and it is important that there are women here who can help them,” shares Iram.
Everywhere around the world, women are choosing to break barriers. It is this courage that is inspiring change in their families and communities and making our world better. On IWD2021, we are celebrating the passion, excellence and strength of women who #ChooseToChallenge conventional gender norms and are adamant in the pursuit of their dreams.