For women, the wedding ring could mean less chance of being hired or promoted because she is expected to pop out another human being any time. An employer doesn’t want someone like that on team. When I say ‘someone like that’, any woman married or not, who wants kids now, later or never, because they are all seen in the same light.
But how is that fair to any woman. Especially to those who are very passionate about their work; kids or no kids. These women now have to put in a lot more extra work compared to her male counterpart, because she doesn’t want to look less ambitious or less competitive.
Now many men in our lives do not know all that we have to put up with to land on a job. An interview board very politely refused to interview me, because ‘even though they dint have any gender bias, they preferred only male candidates’. Once you magically get yourself an interview, don’t be stunned when the interviewer ask you your plans on marriage and kids and how you’ll manage both, without even bothering to butter his words. Point blank questions to which you have to somehow very respectfully convince him, how passionate you are about your work, why your work comes first, how your job is everything to you and how brilliant you are at multitasking. No man ever gets asked these questions. All of this, because we were somehow born with a uterus and not balls.
Women post-maternity are most of the times preferred less on board. The reasons stipulated include her being out of touch with technology and having a child on mind is considered a serious distraction. For a woman this stinks. She just put her body into all of those for almost a year and now she is back to work every day after having ensured that everything necessary for the baby is taken care of, she is not wanted at work anymore. She doesn’t get the right opportunities because of the aforementioned ‘distraction’ and she is not considered for promotion while all her colleagues get ahead of her. Her fault being she performed the task only she is capable of, the task of sustaining life.
Now this might be difficult for certain people to understand because apparently the boss never asked her to get pregnant. Let me help you out here. Come out of your cubicle and take a nice look at a family, for instance your own family. The man and the woman choose to start a family, both decide to have a baby, one of them carries the baby in her womb for several months, leaving the job she loves the most, only to return to the workplace which is not how she left it. Now the significant other gets the baby and his career is as good as it can be, his body is perfect and he has no extra pounds to shed. Why does the woman here get penalized?
I don’t get the whole argument that goes ‘how does the company benefit?’. Now your employer does allow you bathroom breaks, lunch breaks and sick leaves, right? How does the company benefit from you being sick or you taking a leak? Just like these, with provisions like maternity and paternity leaves, the employees benefit. This means increased employee-retention, enhanced employee satisfaction, better employee-employer relation and hence better working environment and better results. See, it is win-win. Provisions like paid maternity and paternity leaves are also strategies in the employment contracts to attract employees. Now don’t tell me work-life balance is not a thing.
We are leap years away from having discussions on mandatory Paid Maternity Leave, because the rumour has it that our society is not mature enough for such grown up discussions. The way I see it, instead of debating whether women should or shouldn’t be given paid leave for childbearing, our men should be out there demanding and availing paternity leave for themselves. Turns out, it is not just the woman’s responsibilities. Also, every man deserves an equal chance to spend time with his newborn, develop strong bond with his child and take care of the woman he loves and had a baby with.