Thursday, March 16, 2006

Angry Young Mom

I am really, really ticked off. My company has always portrayed itself to be a woman-friendly organisation that supported women through pregnancy and childbirth. And this was initially borne out by the fact that I was able to take six months off from work when Ayaan was born and spent the next six months working on a part-time project. That is what makes what happened last week an even ruder shock.

I went across to meet the HR manager (a woman with two kids) regarding my next assignment, which will be a full time role. Admittedly, my case is somewhat complex as vacancies are hard to come by in these days of organisational pruning, which is further complicated by the fact that I am due for a promotion in the near future. However, the whole interview disappointed me deeply in terms of the message that was being sent to me. Here is one of the statements that really got my goat:

“I don’t think you should be upfront about the fact that you don’t want to work long hours. That is something that you have to struggle with. As it is, the bosses (mostly men) view taking on a woman who has just had a baby as a compromise as they would be less willing to work long hours and travel”

The whole experience pissed me off on many levels.

  • I was made to feel like I need to apologise for having decided to start a family. Why on earth would I want to do that? Why the hell should I come in from a defensive position just because I have a baby?
  • I am also totally shocked by the double speak. There is such a big gap between what they say (supporting women blah blah blah) and what actually gets translated into reality.
  • I have worked in this company for seven years (a lot if you consider that fact that only 12 other batchmates from my class of 180 are still with the first job they joined from campus and many are in fact in their third). I have worked crazy hours, weekends, travelled like a maniac and delivered on my targets. I deserve to be treated better than this.

I have decided I am not going to stand for this. I will not be apologetic or ashamed of being a mom. I will not compromise on the quality and quantity of time spent with my son. And if this organisation does not understand that my son is now a bigger priority and that I cannot be sitting in office till 9 p.m. everyday – then it’s not the company that I thought it was and probably not the company that I want to work for.


  1. shameful to know all this..but many small companies r not keen to employ woman because all these reasons,,although they dont say openely this..

  2. It continues to be a male chauvinistic world. Throughout yr career you will come across this male bias. But we have to be strong and prove them wrong. Lip service to women empowerment is there in every sector ans so do not get too hassled. Remember your family is always first.