Airlines must consider giving male employees paternity leave so that they, too, can share the responsibility of bringing up children, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Wednesday, March 16. He also batted for increasing the share of women pilots in the country from 15% to 50%.
India passed the Maternity (Amendment) Bill in 2017 that increased the right to paid maternity leave for working women to 26 weeks from 12 weeks. While Indian airlines currently give paid maternity leave as per the 2017 law, most of them have no similar policy for men.
“I believe that our airlines are doing a tremendous job in terms of creating a healthy workplace environment for our women, whether it is creches, maternity leave and other structures,” Scindia said in his speech during an event of the non-profit organisation “Women in Aviation”.
“I think we need to move beyond that,” he said.
“We need to create an environment that is not only gender-neutral but which looks at an equal responsibility on men as well as women in terms of family environment.
A case in point is why do we look at the concept of only maternity leave. We must also look at the concept of paternity leave where men must also partake in the responsibility of bringing up children at home.
I really believe that equity is more important than equality. It is a very nuanced approach but I think the time has come to recognise it. It is not a fight for equality. It is a fight for equity.”Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister for Civil Aviation
Therefore, that mental shift has to happen, he said, adding that we all must recognise the differences and re-imagine the fundamentals of ethics at the workplace.
Currently, 15% of total pilots in India are women. Globally, the share of women pilots is even lower at around 5%. Scindia said: “Is 15% good enough? My answer is flat no.”
“The reason is that the odds that you have overcome, the stereotypes you have surpassed, the pressure of performance you have endured have been extremely daunting. You have pierced every glass ceiling,” he noted.
But today, we need to shift the paradigm, he added. He said there must come a day in India that this 15% reaches 50% of the country’s pilot strength.