Introduce Paid Paternity Leave for Working Fathers #LeaveInequalityBehind

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It takes two people to bring a child into the world. So, why is it that mothers get maternity leave in India but fathers don’t? Fathers have equal responsibility for their children. And most of them want to take up that responsibility but are not allowed to do so because of discriminatory parental leave policies!

We must break through this idea that mothers are the ‘primary’ parent and fathers only ‘babysit’ the children. Our politicians are working towards getting more women into India’s workforce but how can that happen when men and women still don’t share the load at home?

Sign my petition asking the government to introduce dedicated (i.e. “use it or lose it”), 8-10 weeks of paid paternity leave to working fathers, which must be used within 2 years of their child’s birth or adoption.

In 2018, India was ranked 108 out of 149 participating countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index report. In ‘economic participation and opportunity’ in fact, only two countries in the world were ranked worse than India! Is this not a matter of national shame?

I have been working for several years with various organisations to improve their gender diversity at work. But I realised that it’s not enough to just hire more women. If women are shouldering most of the responsibility at home, especially childcare, how can they be expected to put in the same amount of effort at work? It’s physically impossible!

The problem is - women and men, mothers and fathers are not seen as equal in our society or our laws.

This has to change!

While maternity leave is a must, and India has made generous provisions to its working mothers in this regard with the Maternity Benefits Act of 2016, this law leaves behind a key component – parental leave for fathers as well.

Studies around the world have shown that providing paternity leave has been proven to have positive benefits for all!

Men:

  • Fathers enjoy better relationships with their children
  • Fathers share responsibilities at home more equally

Women

  • After having children, women return to work more
  • Women stay employed longer – contributing to their family’s income
  • Gender pay gaps reduce over time

Children

  • Children grow up more well-adjusted, intelligent and secure

Organizations

  • Employees work better
  • Employees stay longer and are more loyal to organizations
  • Organizations are able to attract better employees

Society

  • Cultural stereotypes about gender, work and family reduce
  • Country’s economy improves

So this election year, help me seek justice, equality and progression on gender equality by appealing to our political leaders to include paternity leave in their election manifestos!

Our future – families, organizations, and the entire Indian economy – lies in the hands of our elected representatives. Sign this petition asking them to make sure paternity leave is as much part of our system as maternity leave!

#LeaveInequalityBehind

#DadsAreNotBabySitters

#ParentalLeave

#PaternityLeave