Scindia moots paternity leave in airlines; wants 50% women pilots

Aviation Minister calls for an environment that's gender neutral, and ensures men and women take up equal responsibility at home

While Indian airlines currently give paid maternity leave as per the 2017 law, most of them have no similar policy for men

Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said airlines must consider giving male employees paternity leave, so that they too can share the responsibility of bringing up children.

Scindia also batted for increasing the share of women pilots in the country from 15 per cent to 50 per cent.

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 non-profit organisation “Women in Aviation”.

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“I think we need to move beyond that. We need to create an environment which is not only gender neutral, but which looks at an equal responsibility on men as well as women in terms of family environment,” Scindia said.

“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,” Scindia stated.

Scindia said that hence, that mental shift has to happen, and that everyone should recognize the differences and re-imagine the fundamentals of ethics at the workplace.

“I really believe that equity is more important than equality. It is a very nuanced approach but I think the time has come to recognize it. It is not a fight for equality. It is a fight for equity,” Scindia mentioned.

Currently, 15 per cent of total pilots in India are women. Globally, the share of women pilots is even lower at around five per cent.

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“Is 15 per cent 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,” Scindia noted.

Scindia said that there must come a day  that in India this 15 per cent would reach 50 per cent of the country’s pilot strength.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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