Proceedings of The 5th Global Conference on Women’s Studies
Paternity Leaves for Fostering Equal Parenthood and Work Life Balance for Mothers
Richika Tyagi and Manya
Pregnancy is a shared joy, blessing and responsibility of a man and a woman. Yet, gendered assumptions, cultural stereotypes and profit-oriented necessity of employers, place pregnant women at a considerable disadvantage in terms of greater vulnerability in losing their jobs during pregnancy and postpartum and hence subject them to proneness of discriminations.
There have been enactment and implementation of anti-discrimination laws, tax rebates, reduction or waiver of licence fees, or other such incentives to employers across countries for ensuring gender diversity, however the real fix would be to ensure presence of women at workplace, irrespective of their reproductive rights and duties. This can be ensured if there is an effective presence of the father of the child, during pregnancy and for post natal care. The primary issue at hand is the lack of paternity leaves, and through this paper, the authors have attempted to present a case for increased paternity leaves as a more efficacious practical solution to post partum discriminatory policy at workplace with respect to women.
This paper is broadly divided into five parts. The authors first discuss the need for maternity and paternity leaves and the existing as well as emerging jurisprudence on the issue. Secondly, we critically analyze the existing legal framework that provides for these leaves and the responsibility of the States and private employers for ensuring the same. Thirdly, the authors discuss a comparative study of the duration of paternity leaves available to men in various countries both in the public as well as private sector, and an assessment thereof. Fourthly, we analyze the impact of balance between the duration of maternity leave and paternity leave so as to maintain work life balance during pregnancy and post partum care. Lastly, we conclude with a discussion on the potential of law and policy to challenge entrenched gender stereotypes and discriminatory practices; and to facilitate social reform as the way forward.
keywords: Pregnancy Rights, Maternity Leaves, Paternity Leaves, Anti-Discrimination