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…

Borgen, and long live Scandinavians…

borgen

I finally got to see Borgen, yet another Scandinavian drama that has had Great Britain in subtitled ecstasy.

The show is described as ‘Denmark’s West Wing’. The crucial difference is the lead character Birgitte, the first female prime minister of Denmark. The show details Birgitte’s journey from being an idealistic politician to a compromising, power-hungry boss of the country.

This being a Scandinavian show, the female characters are outstanding. There are very few clichés and stereotypes that we see populating mainstream English/ American shows. The grey area of morality and justice that Birgitte inhabits, and her maneuvers to get the best out of the tricky situations are realistic with a strong moral commentary. This is what Scandinavians do best. Their shows/ novels are far from smartass cynical fast talking annoyingly predictable shows coming out of English-speaking countries. They are atmospheric, dark, intense, brutally honest but with a strong thread of moral commentary.

I liked the show, but not as much as Bridge, or Killing.

What I liked is the way it openly talks about women in power. In the first episode itself, Birgitte is told – by her male well wishers as well as a nasty right-wing opponent- that she needs to be at the ‘Head of the table’, i.e., in charge of situation, befitting her status as a top boss. Her husband, a corporate honcho tells her how very often women hurry to describe their faults and ask for less, while men hide their faults and ask for more. Very Sheryl Sandberg. In fact, Birgitte’s character does resemble Sheryl Sandberg – soft, smiling demeanour and all, but without the corporate greed and with a social conscience.

How Birgitte gets to the head of the table is deliciously unpredictable. I was half expecting her to either become a tough boy or be a manipulative bitch because that’s what successful women are according to popular culture!! But she is neither, surprise and sigh of relief.

Really loved.

What I also liked is the show’s willingness to spiel issues like terrorism, abortion, environmentalism, corporate bullying etc. with a twist. Many shows I watch these days are a calculated mix between token political correctness and convenient old world morality. Borgen resists that.

Really loved the lead actress Babett Knudsen, the incidental characters, snappy editing, lush cinematography and first class acting by virtually everyone on screen.

What I found troublesome was the intense focus on and passive-aggressive nature of Birgitte’s family. While the show does focus on how difficult it is for successful women to manage both family and work ( men don’t need to do that!!), it feels exaggerated. Can’t she hire a nanny? It is unbelievably stupid that a family would expect a prime minister to be there for sing bedtime stories. I also found it quite ridiculous that her son’s bed wetting is indirectly blamed on her job. Her husband’s character ( played by distractingly handsome Mikael Birkkjer who is a cross between Steve Jobs and Russell Crow), which starts as supportive spouse, degerates into I-want- primeminister-for-wife-but-want-her-to-also-focus-on lingerie-or else-I- will-cheat- and -be- a sexist -moron.

What I didn’t like was the totally random relationship between Kasper and Katrine. It was way tooooo lukewarm and pretentious for me. And it occupied too much of airtime and story arc.

Overall, I am not buzzing from the show as such, but I will definitely watch the second season when available here.