Author: Ritu Sharma
Author Affiliation: Department of Sociology, Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi
Abstract: The central crux of this study is the underlying alliance of legal provisions vis-a-vis all-inclusive socio-economic development. The inherent relationship of gender inequality can be measured in terms of disadvantages accrued during pregnancy in process of amalgamation in labour market. This reasserts a gendered division of labour creamed with the governing principal of femininity (motherhood)—compelling women to surrender to full-time domesticity to fulfil their “primary” traditional gender roles of caregivers (mothers). These working women lack social and psychological support needed in postnatal medical conditions and at the same time feel guilty of not being competent for higher wages, promotions and bonuses even after return to work. This internalizes postpartum depression along with failure struggling with different self (early child care) and other household chores as reflection of dominant social norms in everyday life. Maternity rules are instrumental in skirting socioeconomic and political disparities in ever emerging gender parity. Therefore, a socio-legal enquiry is conducted in order to investigate the dubious role of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017, otherwise introduced and enacted to discourage withdrawal during pre and post reproduction by strengthening economic and physical health of mother and child guaranteed by the Constitution. Simultaneously, discouraging attitude of employer and families to support young mothers to increase their participation in work force is yet to be registered. As employers are reluctant to recruit them due to extended leave (26 weeks paid leave) and on the flip side prioritizing family (new born) over work compels them to withdraw participation and loose vigour. Thus, this is an exercise to contexualise gender parity within the legalized frame of inequality.
Keywords: maternity, laws, feminist, gender parity, article, gender roles.