Care Work and the Careers of Educated Women: Role of the Care Diamond in India
The data on women’s education and labour force participation in India suggests that though the gender gap in education (particularly higher education) has almost disappeared, the gender gap in employment remains significant. The paper links the burden of double responsibility (paid work plus unpaid ‘care work’) with the low labour force participation rates among the highly educated women in urban India. Based on primary and secondary sources, the paper analyses the lived experiences of women who had to either leave their careers or who continued by managing to balance the two sets of responsibilities. Interrogating the care diamond in India, the essay examines two recent provisions of the government of India for working mothers – an increase in Maternity Leave and the provision of Childcare Leave. It finds that though these provisions seem to be in the right direction as they bring recognition to the care burden of employees, given the prevailing social norms on gender roles, they are insufficient (in their present form) to bring gender parity in the labour market.