In 2018, when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought her baby daughter along to the United Nations General Assembly meeting, it was hailed as a historic moment. However, when Arya Rajendran, the Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, who is also the youngest mayor in the country, brought her one-month-old daughter to the mayor's office, it ignited a discussion in Kerala. The sight of the mayor attending to files while holding her baby garnered a range of responses from the public.
While some applauded her actions as proof that being a mother doesn't have to impede a woman's career aspirations, underscoring the potential to attain ideal work-life equilibrium, on the other hand, certain remarks criticised the privilege enjoyed by women in influential positions, drawing a comparison with the struggles encountered by ordinary women devoid of such advantages.
Rajendran gained widespread recognition when her party, CPI (M), appointed her as the Mayor of the state capital in 2020. At that time, she was just 21, a first-timer still pursuing her undergraduate studies. Despite some senior female comrades being passed over, Rajendran managed to secure the position. Her appointment raised eyebrows but she forged ahead.
Consistently making headlines, she faced constant criticism from the opposition, primarily led by the BJP. They highlighted her lack of experience and often labelled her as a mere puppet. However, her performance within the council was remarkable, and she defended her position with passion and determination.
Last year, she married Sachin Dev., a CPI (M) MLA and the former SFI leader, who incidentally held the title of the youngest MLA in the Kerala Assembly. They celebrated the arrival of their first child, a baby girl, on August 10, and by September 17, she had returned to her office, juggling both her responsibilities as a mother and her duties at work.