Sometime back, I met up with a few old friends. There was a lot of catching up to do about each other’s lives. One of them recently had a child and was sharing her experience. She told us that she was at a job interview shortly before her pregnancy, and had to answer some very personal questions. What she shared brought back memories. I had had similar interviews with questions such as –“When are you planning to get married?” and “Are you planning to have children?”
Most of my women friends and colleagues have said that one of the inevitable questions during a job interview is about their plans for marriage and children. Sometimes, the interviewer poses it apologetically and goes on to explain how the project they will be handling is on a tight deadline, and they have to be realistic about whom to hire. I wonder if men are asked these questions and what is the logic behind this?
In the case of a married female candidate, this is the question that follows right after – “Are you planning to have children, and when?” The assumption is that she will probably leave her job after having a child, which means the employers will have to go through the entire recruitment process again.
This is often the case with many women candidates applying for jobs, especially those who are of ‘marriageable age’ or are planning their pregnancy. Do men experience this and are they expected to take care of children at all?
This scenario was true even before the amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017. The increase in the duration of maternity leave is perhaps a relief for many women. It may be much needed for pre and post-partum care for the newborn and the woman. In today’s nuclear families, most often women are alone in providing child-care immediately after birth. However, what if that scenario were to change? What if she had her partner to share the responsibility for longer than 15 days after childbirth?