PATERNITY BENEFIT LEAVE OR CHANGE IN THE ATTITUDE OF THE SOCIETY?
Paternity Benefit leave means the paid leave given to the fathers of the newborns from the workplace to take care of the infants. But it’s not very surprising that it’s not prevalent in India, since people believe that taking care children is the job of a woman and men have no role to play in it, they’re only supposed to earn and provide for the family, which is not true. Taking care of the mother during pregnancy is often perceived to be the duty of the family members (mostly the females of the family), but nobody ever associates the father of the child with the same, even when it’s not just their duty towards the baby and the mother but also important for his bonding with the child.
There are only a very few organizations that grant paternity leave in India. This increases the burden of responsibility on the shoulders of the mother in every aspect and creates imbalance in her life, both professional and personal. Paternity benefit leave is not just beneficial for the heterosexual couples but also for the homosexual people, and because these men can not choose their personal lives over their professional ones, they put into the criteria of being “too ambitious” and if they do choose this then they are characterized as unfocused and unambitious at their workplace, because its apparently the job of the women to take care of the family leaving behind her carrier.
The Minister of women and child development, 2016, Maneka Gandhi, said that “It would just be a holiday, he wouldn’t do anything.” Which to an extent is true but maybe because that’s exactly the kind of thought that has been fed to men in India for all these years, that it’s the duty of women to take care of the family, and he doesn’t have to do anything, which men then transformed into norm and follow it blindly, because they have gotten so used to it, so, now, even if, they want to do something for their wife and future kid their ego forbids them, and families with patriarchal roles sometimes play a key role in giving substance to their male egos, because they know nothing is expected of them, but maybe giving paternity leave would make them believe that its their duty too and if not anyone else then at least the mother of his children does expect him to take care of her and the children and so does society.
Its funny sometimes when we come to think of it, the expectations that we keep from a woman, literally juggling work life and home and knowing all too well that if she fails, she will lose one of the two building factors of her life, yet she does it and succeeds, what’s funnier is that putting men in the exact same scenario and expecting them too mange it all is the idea that society laughs at, then suddenly the expectations seem unreal and stupid to be expected from a human being let alone men.
But blaming it all on men would also not be the right thing to do because somewhere in the back of their head they know this is not right, but all their lives they’ve seen their mothers and all other female in the house do it, so the idea seems alright to them. And these woman often bear the thought that “If I didn’t get this privilege, why should the other one?”.
Is it not high time now that with the changing times, the ideologies of divided gender roles also change, and giving paternity leaves to men would only be a very small step in the direction of an evolutionary change, a gender neutral world.
Author ~ Arya Shrivastava
University of Petroleum and Energy studies