Shobhana Kamineni, executive vice chairperson, Apollo Hospitals
The 2017 Maternity Benefit Act increased paid maternity leave to 26 weeks. While progressive, it is important to ascertain if this has led to any employers’ bias against hiring women. Employers’ initiatives like subsidised childcare and remote working too are critical in helping women return to work. Among initiatives that could help, mandating a certain percentage share for women in the workforce for every firm could help. A viewpoint exists that things will not improve unless patriarchy is challenged. To counter this, the finance minister can explore special benefits only for working women. Workplace safety concerns prevent families from sending women to work. This must be addressed urgently. Finally, mechanisation of farms in rural India requires new training programmes to fully utilise women’s potential.
Santosh Kumar Gangwar, minister of state (independent charge) for labour and employment
The decline may be attributed to increased attendance and higher participation of women in education. Insufficient formal wages and poor job opportunities are other reasons for the decline. The…