Supporting Working Mothers

There has been one curious elements of some of the PPTs we have attended. One of the “selling-proposition” that many of the companies have put before us is that their lifestyle really supports working mothers. Sometimes, it has been in a wider context of the work-life balance. So, how should I take it?

Well, I take it as a policy which, even if unintentionally, is perpetuating gender stereotypes. Why did nobody talk of “working fathers”? Why isn’t there even a term like that in use? If we see more and more companies adopting these “work-life balance” policies, we’ll see the tendency of only females sacrificing their work for kids increasing instead of decreasing. And of course that will be in tandem with the business environment. After all you get all the “working mother” benefits, don’t you? If I think cynically, I feel that for the sake of being politically correct, corporations are letting the few women employees go, in order to keep the majority (men) working away from all those tensions that are creeping in because of women getting into the work. But since, I do not possess so cynical an attitude; I would not see it as an organized conspiracy against women. But then, it is leading towards that anyway.

And of course, this is not to say that bringing up children or spending time with them is not important. What I would like to see is for the companies to adopt policies for supporting “Working Parents”!! That’d be the real work-life balance dear Sirs and Ma’ms…

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This entry was posted in Business & Entrepreneurship, Feminism by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started Pothi.com, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe (http://instascribe.com) with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: https://jayajha.wordpress.com Twitter: @jayajha Facebook: http://facebook.com/MovingOnTheBook

10 thoughts on “Supporting Working Mothers

  1. I do not doubt the importance of equality. However the equality poses another interesting challenge. And I am interested in knowing your views about it. So my question may seem off topic, but it is a related challenge that we as the society have to face.

    Man working hard to prove himself to world … (why should I sacrifice?)
    Woman working equally hard to prove herself to world… (why should I sacrifice?)
    Family and kids suffering (bringing up kids is no kids matter, requires a lots of effort)

    So eventually while both guy and girl win, what do you think happens to family in long term?

    What way do you see families going with both parents working hard in professional life for individual achievement and none ready to sacrifice?

    I think statistically most families would opt for easiest way out in case of both parents not wanting to “sacrifice” life for kids, and that would be either not to have one or to give them superficial love and care for the lack of time. Only very driven families would strike a balance and I admire those who do. Or if the system changes, that is the govts around the world encourage both parents to take out time for kids without being penalised in business life for it, things may be better. I do not see immediate action in those directions from govt, so all I can say is maybe the next generation of kids in India would have a tough time and India will see significant weakening of family structure and soon we would be outsourcing our jobs to places where there are lots of young people. Not that I am saying anyone is to be blamed for it. It is just a problem I see happening for most people.

    Another thing, my personal opinion only… I understand perfectly the logic of girls and guys wanting to make maximum usage of their education and brain and showing the undeniable fact that they can capture the world if they are determined. However I am quite puzzled as to how everyone looses sight of the importance of preparing a good next generation for society? Is it not like laying the foundation of tomorrow ? How then is it looked at in disdain both by guys and girls compared to the glamorous business life? I for one think it is a folly to think that it is any less important contribution to society. I think somehow this is completely neglected aspect of life for most people of today and I wonder how such an important thing is being neglected by people at large. Just because it is not glamorized?

    What is your view on this? Not a personal question, I know you may be a dedicated person, but how do you see society as a whole rising to this challenge? What could society do in your view to face this?

  2. If you are good, you are good in everything. Not the best when you are out of your depth, or in a domain you know nothing about, yet you are good, or strive to be good.

    Do you give up sports if you are a good actor? I think that would suck.

    Do you not make efforts to balance and ensure your children are excellent if you are a banker or an NGO CEO?

    Of course that wont stop your son from ending in a rehab for drug disabuse at 16 and your daughter from getting pregnant at 14. Still leave that for destiny, and the american influence. Your job is to strive. Hail America.

  3. So basically you think that a person who is good in one thing can strive to be good in everything with the same dedication. Also you think that if you are good actor and a good sportsman, you should not leave one for other ? I do not know. I guess it would depend on your preferences. I get your point about striving to be good in all things you do. Dedicated people do try to be very good in everything they do. It is a matter of pride to them.

    As for drug abuse and say juvenile delinquency, I do not think it is completely one or the other among american influence and lack of time with parents for kids. I beleive both contribute. Ofcourse it still lies partly with destiny(or the environment if you are more scientific) since nothing is completely in one’s hand. However as you said one can strive to do the best.

    I would like to also add that most capable people can also falter when faced with lack of sufficient time to do a good job. I would say it is like linear programming problem. When you optimize one variable other will automatically become less optimized. You can deicde what you desire and what you are capable of (your function) and then optimize accordingly.

    In fact I am in agreement with what you say peeyush. You say that people should strive to do good in both areas. I also think the same. However, I wonder if our society as whole would see the problem itself in the first place.

  4. I was just reading an article on psychology today and could not help relate it to the topic I mentioned (what happens when both parents do not want to sacrifice personal achievement)…

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20050415-000001.html

    Point to note in article…
    ” … one of the fastest growing configurations in the modern American family: Two Parents, One Dog … ”
    🙂 says a lot🙂 funny but real effect of the changing preferences of guys and girls… question ofcourse being taking it from economic and social viewpoint.. in long run is it sustainable for growth of society economically and socially ? Who speaks for society if everyone speaks for himself and herself ? My point being that I feel that the present generation specially liberated from old systems is maybe ignoring the consequences of their own new uncharted system… think for oneself alone or individulalism is not the best way of life in my opinion since does not come to best solution for everyone specially for those who can’t speak for themselves like kids or society or relation …

  5. There should be a witchhunt for all individual independent thinkers. Anyone who speaks for himself or herself should be burnt at stake.

  6. No, why should that be done ? What I mean to say is that thinking for oneself one should consider the consequences. Evaluate the tradeoff rather than going with the fad or following what is expected out of peer and media pressure. Think critically. What is the consequence and decide for oneself. Ofcourse one has to decide for oneself. However I support critical thinking and discussion.

    I believe all of us are rational enough to decide ourselves. Only question is are things challenged enough ? Are there devils advocates to prevent group think ? Do we carefully examine the problems and come with solutions or do we just go with the flow.

    Remember when I say society suffers, I mean to say indirectly everyone suffers. For example, take declining birth rates in australia. It is a maaaaajor problem faced by the govt there. Now they are trying to promote family. Take neglected kids for that matter. In lack of a proper solutions, you will have kids coming back to school and killing maybe the individual’s kids. Society’s kids developing psychological problems will not keep your kids immune to it. Ever problem society faces is also a problem of individual. Is it not ?

    What if I am taking role of devils advocate ? Is it really that bad ? I am not trying to say we go to old system. I am saying, we need to discuss these problems or else these problems would become bigger. We need to come with innovative solutions that fit the day. Certainly you would agree that a problem does not disappear by not discussing it ?

  7. I am not sure if many companies really have some work life balance or Working Parents support policies. I have been really disappointed with the lack of opportunities for young mothers. I graduated in 1998 from IIT Delhi and have been working in the software industry ever since. I was hoping to get some contract based work which I could execute over a broadband connection. Alas, concept is really lacking in India😦

  8. As a believer in Men’s Rights, I disagree with the concept that when a mother spends more time at home and a man spends more time in the office, it is only the woman who is ‘sacrificing’. However, it would be good to see these matters phrased in terms of ‘working parents’ not specifically ‘working mothers’ only.

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