Maternity should not be a barrier for the careers of women: SC Judge

Maternity should not be a barrier for the careers of women: SC Judge

(PTI) Stating that motherhood must not result in a situation where women are passed over for promotions and hiring, Justice B.V. Nagarathna of the Supreme Court of India on Friday said that while the entry of women in the labour force was increasing, the talent was not getting retained due to the absence of an alternative caregiver for their children.

“As far as India is concerned, it is rather disappointing. A trend within the labour force in general and in the legal profession in particular is that although the entry of women is increasing, the talent is not being retained. We all know the reasons for that. One of the reasons is the inability to find an alternate caregiver when they become parents and are away at work which is a contributory factor to such a trend,” said Justice Nagarathna, in her address at the Delhi High Court during inauguration of a creche facility.

She added that an initiative which seeks to provide access to quality child care with the workplace of a parent is “a welcome and salutary initiative” which would facilitate retention of women within the labour force and in the legal and other fields.

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Justice Nagarathna, who was the Guest of Honour, also said that no country, community or economy can achieve its potential to meet the challenges of development without full and equal participation of women, while stressing on the need for reliable, affordable and good quality child care

“I have firmly believed that maternity should not be a barrier for the careers of women to plateau or dip. Motherhood must not result in a situation where women are passed over for promotions and hiring. It is in that context that I state providing access to quality child care at the workplace would play a significant role in ensuring that motherhood does not become an insurmountable barrier to women’s empowerment. The responsibilities of motherhood and those of career in my opinion are both pursuits that are challenging for women,” said the apex court judge.

Supreme Court judge, Justice Indira Banerjee, who was the Chief Guest at the event, said that parenting is a joint responsibility and not of the women alone. “But there is a deep rooted mindset that pervades down through all levels of society, we judges included,” she said.

She added, “I was just wondering, why all the members of the crèche committee, (Justice) Hima Kohli, (Justice) Mukta Gupta, Justice (Rekha) Palli, Justice (Prathiba M) Singh. Why were they all women? Why were no men in the Committee? And why did Aditi, who is the Registrar Vigilance, have to be put in charge of the crèche? This is because of the mindset. It is the woman who is responsible for rearing the child.”

The Creche facility at the High Court would be available for the members of the Delhi High Court Bar Association and their registered clerks or staff, members of the staff of the court registry and the litigants who may be carrying with them their children. At present, a maximum of 30 children can be admitted to the creche.

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