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BW Businessworld

Father’s Day: Marketed Well, Acknowledged Less

How many evening have you spent waiting for his homecoming? Memories with him or memories missing him, what counts more?

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It all starts with huge discounts on shopping sites, food coupons promising taste like never before, movie vouchers bestowed with perfect combos, rolling GIFs over smart screens and millions of hash tags trending on social media platforms. Father’s day it is!

Celebrations puffed up with advertisement gimmicks set aside the real essence of the day. Can gratitude disguised in gifts reciprocate the love and care? There is no substitute available for the moments lived together.

There is a saying that “Maa” is the first word that a child utters when he or she learns how to speak. In Indian households, on average, mothers spend more time than fathers do, even after the whole scenario of women workers has changed.

In India, where women are granted 26 weeks (Maternity Benefits Amendment Act 2016) maternity leave to take care of the new born, fathers are deprived of the happiness. Not many know this but this proposition reduces their employability chances over men.  This has further laid burden on the father to keep the house running.

However, the central government has mandated paternity leave policy that provides leave for a central government employee for a period of 15 days so that he can take care of his wife and the newborn. However, policies on paper do not dictate the rules in Indian households. Cultural stigma associated with paternity leave for men have made them less willing to opt for it.

When the issue was raised, Women and Child Development minister, Maneka Gandhi said, “Paternity leave can be considered only if, once the woman goes back to work after her 26 weeks of leave, we find that men are availing their sick leave for a month to take care of the child. Let me see how many men do that. I will be happy to give it but for a man, it will be just a holiday, he won’t do anything.” Cultural stigma associated with paternity leave for men have made them less willing to opt for it but this doesn’t define the overall scenario where a father equally desires to be the newborn as much as a mother.

The conventional norms of parenting have not been discontinued where mother is solely responsible for childcare and father’s role comes secondary. Instead of bridging the gap, the gender biasness introduced in the policy further drifted a father away. Last year, Deutsche Bank took a revolutionary step by delinking the policy from gender and allowing men to take 6 months paternity leave.

Parenting is a shared responsibility. The loopholes in the legislative have bookmarked an imbalance in the number of memories pertaining to a mother versus to that of a father. As both the parents are equally important for a child, the rules and regulations of the authorities should not disturb the ecosystem of a family.    

This Father’s day, let us acknowledge the sacrifices made by our fathers despite the regulations, burdens, expectations, norms deemed upon them by the society.