• Dhriti Agrawal

Petition for Paternity Leave?


Parenting is give and take of love and care by ‘both the parents’ to their kid. Contribution of both of them is required, but unfortunately, even after living in the 21st century, our government doesn’t recognize that. And that’s the reason why paternity leave is given only to civil and government officials as if the private sector doesn’t have male employees.


On top of that even in government sections paternity leave is granted for just 15 days, (again as if the child can be brought up in 15 days) whereas on the other hand, according to the latest bill passed: maternity leave is granted for 26 weeks, 8 weeks leave can be opted for before delivery and rest can be taken after that.


Raising a kid ain’t a duty of just the mother. We are not living in a world where the mother does all the housework and the father goes out to earn money anymore and though the government of our country says that they understand the same, their actions speak otherwise. Yes, undoubtedly there have been plans and campaigns run by the government to ensure equality like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Mahila Haat, Sukanya Samriddhi Account and none other than Maternity Leave Scheme. I appreciate this scheme but what the government doesn’t understand is that by providing just maternity and not paternity leave, they ‘enforce’ inequality and make it more prominent that the mother has to be more responsible for the child they give birth to.


I say this, not because I have some grudges against our government but because in 2017 a bill was proposed known as ‘The Paternity Leave’ by Rajeev Satav, an MP of Maharashtra. “Child care is the joint responsibility of both parents. They must devote time to the newborn to ensure its proper well-being” said Satav. He stood up for the benefits of the father during the childbirth and proposed a bill that stated Paternity Leave should be provided in both unorganized and private sectors and should be extendable to 3 months rather than 15 days but the bill was not passed...


Why? I ask.


Does our government think that a father is not important in his child’s upbringing or do they think that the mother has some superpower to take care of the child in the initial and most crucial phase, all on her own or do they not think at all and still believe in some backward stereotypical culture where it was believed that taking care of a child is a mother’s job?


Since the bill proposed in 2017 was not passed, it raises many questions. One of the main issues that maternity leave raises is the ‘pay gap’ between both the genders.

According to the recent study, the pay gap between the genders exist mainly because, after the child is born the women having the legacy ( or I should call it an obligation ) of Maternity leave are asked to stay home and not work, this leads to them not working, attending PTM, avoiding work/ promotions etc and hence leading to a considerable gap in the pay of both the genders. Iceland managed to reduce it’s pay gap from 81 cents to 90 cents for 1 dollar just by making Paternity leave an obligation. But this bill is bigger than an obligation to the father to stay home after childbirth, it’s about providing rights to fathers who wish to stay at home to look after their kids, it’s about providing mothers with an equal opportunity to work post-pregnancy and freeing them from the burden of being held responsible, every time a child commits a mistake, and most importantly, this bill is about the child itself, and it’s right to have the love of both the parents.


Psychology says, ‘the most important stage for brain development is the beginning of life, starting in the womb and then the first year of life. By the age of three, a child’s brain has reached almost 90% of its adult size, meaning the first two years of a child are crucial and without a good initial bond with both ‘parents’, children are less likely to grow up to become happy, independent and resilient adults.’


After knowing all of this, I propose only one thing to the government:


“PETITION FOR PATERNITY LEAVE”

obliged or not.

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