Society is changing and it is more than evident that men are trying to contribute as much as women to the domestic sphere. Activities such as cooking and other household chores have seen men contribute an equal part to, while the wives can concentrate on their careers. And this is huge progress, considering that this wasn’t the familial structure a couple of decades ago. But then again, a major question that arises is, that is childcare one of those activities as well?
We may have progressed immensely as a society but gender bias is something that still exists when it comes to childcare. And no, we’re not doubting our men at all. We know they’re doing a fantastic job raising children, but then it’s only in the nitty gritties that we get to see how this domain is a more hectic for women than men.
Moms make a lot of changes to their life once the baby arrives. And well, we don’t see dads experiencing these changes, especially at the workplace. Take for example the provision of maternity leave. There’s a reason that it is mandatory according to the Indian Labour Law, something completely in contrast to the concept of paternity leave. Considering that a child requires her mother to be physically there, besides emotionally, there are provisions for the mother to stay back or often leave the job for a while. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2016 ensures women get completely paid leaves to stay back and provide the child with whatever care is required.
However, with little or no provisions for fathers at all, especially in the private sector, the gender bias in childcare forces women to stay at home and raise the child. While some women may find it frustrating, others embrace this change and takeover the role of a homemaker. This is then pushed forward by not only the coming generations who see women on the forefront of the childcare domain, but also by the workspace laws that do not provide men with enough facilities, which is why they stay back and push their wives to resume work themselves.
It is often that the woman who chooses not to give up her career for childcare is considered less or completely insensitive, while a man has no such pressure on him and enjoys both paternal and professional bliss. This in turn puts the woman in stress where she keeps contemplating how to manage both domestic and work sphere, often feeling bad about compromising her productivity in the latter.
Men never have to go through making shifts in their working hours, or asking for paternity leaves or even managing flexible working hours according to home requirements. Women on the other hand, demand for daycare centres at work so they can multitask. Never have men demanded for a daycare ever. For women who can afford to stay back and take up childbirth, it is easier to quit and put her ambitions on a hold but for the ones equally responsible for the running income, it is a tough call. They can either sit back and manage in the lesser amount that reaches the bank account or they can multitask and burden themselves.
We agree men these days are highly helpful but then the whole point is to be an equal partner and not just a helper. Do not give in to stereotypes! Work towards filing for better paternity leaves and management and make sure your baby sees more of you and not just her mom. Society might teach you that it’s a woman’s job, but it’s equally a man’s job as well. So, take it up and change the scenario, because childcare is not just a woman’s duty.