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Home > News > Report

IT hurts: Family blues for tech women

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | November 27, 2007 15:22 IST

IT comes with a price. The Information Technology boom in India may have brought smiles on several faces, but there are problems attached to it, too.

The latest one is : DINK (Double Income No Kids). After putting in years of experience and doubling their income, women in the IT sector are worried about a married life as they increasingly find it difficult to raise a family. Lack of time is being viewed as main the reasons for the problems.

Explains, Patricia Mary Mukhim, renowned activist and columnist, "Women in the IT and ITES sector find it hard to start a family. The problem in India is that women in the IT sector are just given just one month towards maternity leave, which makes it hard for them to even contemplate starting a family."

One third of the workforce in the IT sector is women and a majority of them face problems while it comes to raising a family. Most women hail from middle-class families.

Says, Jhanavi Sridhar, 31, who works with a reputed IT firm in Bangalore, "I was planning to start a family. But I now realise that it is extremely difficult. The maternity benefits are not encouraging and to top it all, we are entitled to only one-month maternity leave. It is not that I can't quit my job to start a family. But our commitments are based on the salary, both my husband and I earn."

Says, Anupa Ramachandra, a counsellor, "There is an urgent need for IT firms to look into this issue. The existing policy makes it virtually impossible to start a family. Moreover, it is not in the best interest of both the parents as well as the child if a family is started late."

In comparison to other countries, India seems to have the most unfriendly policy when it comes to maternity issues.

In a country like Sweden, 14 weeks has been earmarked as maternity leave. Besides, 480 days of paid parental leave is also given. In Norway, women are entitled 52 weeks maternity leave.

Women rights activists feel that there is a need for more political empowerment for this issue to be sorted out. The Gender Gap Report of 2006, which throws light on the duration of paid maternity leave and maternal mortality rate,  says that India ranks 20th in political empowerment.

Activists like Patricia feel that there is also a need to change the mindset of the women in the country. They still feel that the option to work is secondary. Women need to change that mindset, she feels.