NEW DELHI — A woman IAS officer, one of the youngest to have cracked the tough civil services exam in 2001, has sent a legal notice to a weekly news magazine for a blatantly sexist article that described her as 'eye candy'.
Smita Sabharwal has also called the article "distasteful, cheap and titillating” in the notice sent to the Outlook magazine which in a recent write-up titled 'No Boring Babu' said the IAS officer made "a fashion statement with her lovely saris and serves as eye candy at meetings."
The article was accompanied by this cartoon.
Sabharwal had secured the all-India 4th rank in the Union Public Service Commission exams.
The writer reportedly spoke to “leading party politicians” who “admitted” that Sabharwal served as “eye candy at meetings”. But now Outlook has some major damage control to do.
The five page legal notice has been sent to editor-in-chief Krishna Prasad and Hyderabad-based assistant editor Madhavi Tata asking the magazine for a detailed apology. The magazine has been given a 15-day period to act, failing which Sabharwal has threatened to file a criminal and civil suit against it.
The notice alleged that Outlook has "deliberately played mischief by implying that Sabarwal's portfolio was a mystery.”
"Sabarwal's hard work, dedication and her excellence at her chosen profession are washed away by the mere fact of her being an attractive, young and successful woman who has also accomplished quite a lot professionally, owing to her dedication and perseverance,” says the notice.
The notice says that the Sabharwal was "extremely disturbed" by the article.
The IAS officer, however, has scored major points with women on social media for taking a stand against everyday sexism at the workplace.
Well done Smita Sabharwal. Outlook indeed lives in the dark ages-smart women need to be dowdy. http://t.co/GshGHfuNpH— Aparna Jain (@aparna_jain) June 30, 2015
Personally I found Outlook's cartoon for Smita Sabharwal IAS more distasteful than anything. Like WTH http://t.co/FBoiwGepYV— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) June 30, 2015