During my research about the Rajani Pandit, I learned that in the year 2010 India had 40,000 working female detectives. According to Kunwar Vikram Singh, President of the Association of Private Detectives of India, this was twice the number of female detectives in 2005. Today few female detectives have their own detective agencies but most female detectives work for private detective agencies run and owned my male detectives.
Even though India is a patriarchy society, most detectives in India prefer to hire female detectives. They believe that woman make better detectives because woman look unassuming. Because Indians would not think that “a matronly woman in a sari” (Ladies Detective Agencies) is a detective. To most Indians, a woman represents a mother figure—a figure of sacrifice—which makes it easy for people to trust her. There is a consensus among private detective agency owners that women have better intuitions than men. Hence women evaluate situations faster than men.
Another reason is the type of cases. Most prevalent cases in India are women related–pre-matrimonial check of future groom, post-matrimonial spying on husband. all private detective agency owners state that women and men clients are more comfortable discussing their problems with female detectives.
Also, compared to men it is easier for female detectives to go undercover especially in call-centers and secretarial positions in big corporations. It is easy for a female detective to use her charms to get information. Kavita Das of Anapol primarily handles corporate investigations. She says, “One thing I have discovered is that most senior managers have a weakness for women. They get emotional. Be a little flirtatious, dress provocatively and they’ll create jobs for you.” (Spy Girls) But she cautions that female detectives should know when and how to extract themselves in timely manner.
Indian private detective agencies face a different problem while employing female detectives. Indian women tend to quit the workforce once they get married and have children. Bharat Prakash of Calcutta’s Blackboy Detectives emphasis that even though he finds “women are intrinsically cleaner to work with and more dedicated” (Spy Girls) he suffers from a large turnover of women.
I see some exploitation of female detectives in India. As there are few women owned detective agencies, most female detectives work in male dominated and owned private detective agencies. There are no laws protecting them. Most private detective agencies don’t want to pay for maternity leave, so they hire only freelance female detectives.
My most shocking statement is by S.R. Banerjee, founder and director of Anapol private investigative firm. He prefers to hire women because “they are more obedient and hence bring more success.” (Spy Girls)
Despite the demand of women detectives in India, many female detectives leave the industry after few years. Apart from the risks, boring surveillance jobs, and getting to see the “seamy side of life” (Spy Girls), the main problem is, like all another professions in India, a man is always on top.