Society and Culture

More women could work if they had secure and safe facilities for their children

Social media was all aflutter recently after Mira Rajput, the wife of actor Shahid Kapoor extolled the virtues of being a stay-at-home mother. She said that her child was not like a puppy that could be left at home and that she did not want to spend just one hour a day with her. What’s with all the canine analogies these days, first the PM says he feels pain when a puppy is run over and now we have the erudite Ms Rajput rabbiting on about puppies. But I digress.

Mar 25, 2017
Social media was all aflutter recently after Mira Rajput, the wife of actor Shahid Kapoor extolled the virtues of being a stay-at-home mother. She said that her child was not like a puppy that could be left at home and that she did not want to spend just one hour a day with her. What’s with all the canine analogies these days, first the PM says he feels pain when a puppy is run over and now we have the erudite Ms Rajput rabbiting on about puppies. But I digress.
 
Numerous women, armed with spiffing degrees have skewered Mira saying that her remarks come from a position of privilege, that she is dissing women who chose to have a career and leave their children in the care of others while they work. They argue that children of working mothers are proud of them, that the quality time spent with their offspring more than compensates for their absence. This argument is happening at the level of privilege on all sides. Women who can afford to be full time caregivers for their children and women who can afford full time caregivers for their children while they work.
 
But there are numerous women who have no choice but to be full time mothers or no choice but to work because their children would starve otherwise. So while we get our knickers in a twist about Mira Rajput and her detractors and supporters, let us spare a thought for these two categories of women who are somehow out of the loop of our discourse.
 
Crippled by illiteracy and lack of opportunity, many women are condemned to a life of child bearing and rearing because they have no skills to join the job market and even if they could, cannot afford the kind of care that they would like for their children. In the West, especially Scandinavia, state child care facilities ease the path for women who want to hold down jobs. Here crèches are few and far between.
 
According to the law, any workplace which has 50 or more workers should have provisions for a crèche. We know that this is not the norm barring a few exceptions. In fact, when a suggestion was once made in a former place of work of mine that a crèche might be set up, the reaction was that this would be used by women to malinger and waste time instead of focusing on their office work. The proposition that a happy mother would be a more productive person was not met with much approval.
 
Read more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/more-women-could-work-if-they-had-secure-and-safe-facilities-for-their-children/story-tgO405ahpalaAofikSAP8K.html
 
Hindustan Times, March 24, 2017 

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