Creche in the office

Please help this excellent initiative by signing the petition by going to the following link.

http://www.greenpeacex.in/petitions/make-creches-at-workplaces-a-rule-not-an-exception?bucket=email3&source=facebook-share-button&time=1406290078

Most of the women in our society suffer serious professional downturn post childbirth. Many have to ‘choose’ between working outside home and caring for their children at home. It is hardly a choice when there is no other valid and sustainable option.

When women are put on ‘mommy- track’, we are effectively discriminating against women in general.

While my first question to humanity in general would be ‘why is it almost always a woman’s problem?’ , I am not going to ask it here. Because no matter what I believe about father’s and society’s responsibility towards childcare- I am realistic enough to know it is a tough battle. Which needs to be fought simultaneously.

As quite a senior employee in corporate sector, I have come across several examples of bright and productive women who would have continued and successfully so, had they got support from home and workplace. Many end up quitting. Many end up accepting projects and jobs that are never going to give them robust professional growth.

And the saddest part is that many women choose careers that are not demanding so that they don’t get into this conflict in the first place. Which means our girls are effectively being told to excel academically but choose careers with one eye on the baby.

Having childcare support at office is one step towards giving women more options. If we can make it happen at policy level, it is telling our girls that they don’t have to sacrifice their professional life for a baby. I know it won’t be so hunky dory, but it is definitely a step towards equality.

Please sign the petition.

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Supreme Court asks why are mothers ignored?

Thank you Supreme Court!! And thank you Madhav Kant Mishra for stating the obvious:

Mothers hardly match the authority a father commands in official documents necessary to prove a person’s identity. While the father’s name prominently figures in government documents, the mother is usually given the go-by.

And you know what? This bias ties back to my favourite rant. Why do kids, even in today’s day and age always take their father’s last name? Especially, when their mother hasn’t taken her husband’s last name after marriage? 99.99% cases of women I know who haven’t changed their last names after marriage, have given their husband’s last name to kids. Why? why? why? They are usually the ones who take most of the burden of childcare, their lives- physical as well as social- change more dramatically than those of their husbands.

Then why do husbands get to be umbrella identity markers? And please don’t tell me about exceptional cases like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, we are talking of the norm here. Also none of the ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter because last names are just formality/ relics of bygone era’. When majority of children carry their father’s name and not mother’s – it is clearly institutionalised sexism.

Motherhood is all about sacrifice a la Gajar ka halwa!! However, when it comes to real power- mothers can go take a hike. Because from religious rituals to government documents to last names for kids to Bollywood movies to corporate policies, it is the fathers who rule the roost. After all, the word Patriarchy is derived from the all mighty ‘father’.

The petition, filed by journalist Madhav Kant Mishra from Allahabad, says ignoring the parenthood of the mother in government documents is in gross violation of the Fundamental Right to Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution. It sought an ordinance making the mother’s name compulsory in documents.

Why are we asked to name FATHER OR HUSBAND in every frikkin document: from passport to nursery leaving certificates to bank accounts to medical tests to pan card to voter’s card?

Because father ( or husband) is used as a marker of identity.

‘ Whose daughter/ son? ‘
‘This man’s.’

Sort of like when in ancient times a person would be first a part of the community/ caste/ village/ family and then an individual.

It would have seemed quaint has it not been 21st century. And had mother was also used as a marker of a person’s identity.

But it is done rarely. It is not ironical but outright fucked up that while a woman’s femininity is validated the most when she is a mother, her identity as a mother is not good enough to be acknowledged as a marker for her own kid.

She is not good enough to preside over any traditional ceremony, the kids almost always take father’s last name, and she isn’t considered parent enough to be mentioned in any official document concerning her child.

So hope that social, legal, official and cultural norms change to acknowledge mothers’ rights in meaningful manner rather than melodramatic lip service.

Holy cow…

When in Dubai, do as Dubaikars do… shop and breastfeed.

Because it is a child’s right that his mother’s breastfeed him. Har Har.. this new clause in the Child Rights Law.

Are the pro-lifers taking their notes? Because once you have stomped on the abortion rights, this looks like a great cause to legislate: breastfeeding is mandatory. So is wearing soft cotton gown. And 24 hour serene smile. And regulated diet. And no songs allowed for new mothers that are not lullaby. Mothers will only watch Disney channel, the preschool variety.

Because it is the infant’s right you see. And as we know, the infant always trumps the adult woman. Always.

What about the mother’s right to not to be considered as a state’s cow?

I think they should just collectively go.. Mooo…

Nope, not done…

A quick note here. I wrote about an Additional Sessions judge’s comments on how pre-marital sex is immoral. Bhagwad‘s very apt comment has prompted me to write a post script to it.

Basically, the situation in which the judge made these comments goes like this. A woman accused her ex boyfriend of promising marriage before having consensual sex with her. She alleged rape because in Indian Penal Code (IPC), sexual intercourse with a woman after obtaining her consent on the false promise of marriage amounts to rape. After checking the email exchange, the judge didn’t find enough evidence that she was indeed misled and thus acquitted the man of rape charges.

But had the law found evidence of marriage promises, the man would have been guilty of having committed rape.

First and foremost, don’t you find this law archaic and extremely sexist?

It assumes that women have no agency/ interest in sex unless marriage is on board.

It assumes women are wronged if consensual sex doesn’t result into marriage, modesty and honour and all.

Do we need to enter in civil union with anyone we have sex with?

Will a woman be forced to marry the man she has sex with?

More so, how can it be called rape if the sex is consensual?

Is it either rape or marriage, with nothing in between?

I understand what a terrible blow it would be to a woman in our society, which puts a woman’s sexual purity above her individuality. But the same logic has been used to force women to marry their rapists in our venerable culture.

So, no. Civil union can not be linked to sexual activity that is consensual. Women’s violated honour can not be used as a double-edged sword.

If it is not consensual, prosecute the hell out of the guilty party. But until it was consensual, women ought to be considered adult citizens by law. And by women themselves.

Pre- marital sex… chee…. chee

Additional sessions judge Virender Bhat is very very upset. And he wants all women to know that pre-marital sex is not only immoral, because duh, it is pre-marital, but also non-religious. If a woman practices it, naughty girl!!!, then “She must understand that she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion. No religion in the world allows pre-marital sex.”

Hmmm, inter-caste/ inter-religion marriages should be banned pronto as they are definitely not sanctioned by religion.

Women should be married before they reach puberty and have sons and shave off their heads when their husbands die. Highly commendable practices blessed by religion and guaranteed to preserve the morality of women which equals morality of the religion/nation/ universe/ heaven/ dadadaadadada….

How about introducing a government sponsored campaign to relaunch Sati?

Mr. Bhat is upholding a very pious task of mixing judiciary with religious vows. I propose we perform an Ashwamedha Yadnya in his honour and slay horses to please the gods. Yeeeyy…

Sacrifice a handful of kids as well while you are at that.

Delhi Gangrape case perpetrators sentenced to death..

The four men who raped and killed the 23 yr. old student in Delhi, in a highly publicized December 2012 case have been sentenced to death. I have no doubt you have already heard about it, from news channels, to FB statuses to neighbourhood kattas. From elected political leaders, to common Indian people, the news is like a poetic justice to the horror inflicted on a common Indian, whose only crime was to be a woman.

I am not sure death sentence is the answer though. It is a great closure to the mass angst, but in reality, death penalty does not ‘deter’,or ‘put the fear of law’ in the minds of potential criminals .

Very often the popular sentiment of ‘revenge’ against the injustice sates the mass anger with a symbolic, flagship gesture.

To quote Kavita Krishnan from this article, “The real problem we face in sexual assault cases is the abysmal rate of conviction.” The figures are depressing to say the least. Out of almost 1.3 lacs of trials, a shocking 1.1 lac cases are still pending according to the National Crime Record Beureu.

And what about the fact that most rapes are committed by people known to the victim? The media coverage and popular reactions in the recent months has given rise to the myth that rapes are committed in dark places, at odd hours, by strangers ONLY. This could lead to restricting women’s participation in public places, not to mention reinforcing a very limited view of reality.

While we are celebrating death penalty, what about demanding change in laws that refuse to legislate marital rape because it will harm the ‘institution of marriage’? We are talking about changes that were demanded and rejected in 2012!! What about sexual harassment at workplace? What about the fact that 3 Dalit women are raped every day and the judiciary is unwilling to treat it as as a violation of SC/ST PoA Act? Are we saying that some rapes deserve highest punishment while others are ok?

The popular sentiment is no doubt guided by an outrage and a genuine sympathy for the woman who lost her life because she was a woman. No doubt this case has been the most powerful catalyst in recent times as far as mass opinion about sexual violence in India is concerned. No doubt the perpetrators deserve punishment. No doubt we, as a society and as a law and order system need to put women’s safety in top priority list.

But I am not sure if the euphoria from the death penalty is the answer. It definitely shouldn’t serve as a collective ‘revenge’ that will sate the mass anger, while millions of women go on suffering violence that is not ‘recognized’ by their country.

Women, you don’t have to die just because you live in Ireland anymore…

After the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar who was denied abortion in Ireland and consequently died of medical complications, Ireland’s stone age anti-abortion laws were in the international limelight.

Now Irish Govt. has generously passed a bill that allows abortion if the mother’s life is in danger or if she is suicidal.

Pro-lifers are already moaning the ‘killing the unborn’ sin this law will perpetuate. I think it shows very clearly how utterly unconcerned they are when it comes to women’s health. Come on guys, if the same unborn you are protecting gets pregnant in future and her life is danger, you are content to see her die?? Wah!!

In your warped logic, even if a woman’s life is in danger, she has to carry the holy life to term? If she dies or gets harmed, well, I know you will say, ” God giveth and taketh life, abortion is killing human beings, abortion is murder…bluhhhudy bluhhudy blah.”

Unbelievably, even after this bill, an adult woman who is healthy and not suicidal wants to get abortion for any other reasons can be jailed up to 12 years in the holier-than-pope-Ireland.

Till the time a woman’s body is used to carry the foetus in her, ‘she’ should have the legal autonomy to make decisions about her own body. Unless Catholic Church and all those who shame women for having abortions are ready to transport the foetus somewhere else and nourish it. Till the time it is not possible, all women, suicidal or not, along with their doctors ( who believe in saving lives and not passing moral judgements) have to have the ‘legal’ right to make that decision.

Now let me go back to my non-procreational contraceptional sexual activities and defy god’s plans for my uterus once more.