When the recent amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act 1961 became law, Women and Child Development Minister Mrs. Maneka Gandhi proudly claimed, "We have made history." It is debatable whether this is the kind of history we need. This refers to a clause in the Amendment which raises the period of maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks with another month added for complications. The additional month makes sense; the 26 weeks does not.
As a nation, we have little to be proud of when it comes to our legacy of treating women in years gone by.
Among other things, we had left the matter of women’s education untouched. Our grandmothers somehow learnt to write their names in the vernacular and that was it. None other than the great Swami Vivekananda, after his first visit to America and Europe, admonished us about this and proclaimed that without women’s upliftment no society can prosper. Let it be said that we have certainly improved since our independence. The best colleges and ...
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