When it comes to women working and building careers in our society, it is still considered out of the ordinary. Getting married and making babies, is, however, looked at to be just second to breathing for a woman. This is why, anything that can possibly come in the way of a woman being the idealistic version of a wife and mother, is frowned upon. That includes women choosing to focus on their work after marriage or motherhood, or becoming entrepreneurs in a highly-demanding industry or even working in a field that has long seen predomination by men. Even in this day and age, in most cases, the work ecosystem is created through the male perspective, be it something as big as maternity/paternity benefits to something seemingly small as the AC temperature in offices. We want more women in the workspace, but are we offering them enough job security? Are we offering them opportunities or are we hitting them with glass ceilings? We are failing our female workforce and heres how. The insufficient paternity leaves in India While India is progressing in terms of maternity leaves, especially since a few employers are offering those to adoptive and surrogate mothers, paternity leaves still arent at its progressive best. As per the Central Civil Services Rules, 1972, men working in the public sector can take only 15 days' leave on becoming a parent. However, there is no fixed policy for men working in private companies. This means that mothers have no choice but to take the majority of the childcare load, while also physically and mentally recovering from giving birth. While mothers get 26 weeks of maternity leave, there are only a handful of companies that are now realising the importance of paternity leaves, and how the lack of which, impacts women greatly. Zomato, for instance, started offering the same number of leaves to both men and women, on becoming parents. Meesho, too, has a 30-week gender-neutral parental leave that promotes equality both in relationships and in the workplace. Netflix had announced an unlimited leave policy for parents in the first year after having a baby. Such policies establish a fair division of childcare responsibilities and equal dynamics from the get-go. This helps retain the female workforce, as many mothers rejoin after their maternal leave, with a healthy distribution of domestic duties at home. Lack of maternity benefits in the unorganised sector TheMaternity Benefit Act, 1961originally offered women only 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. However, in the 2017 amendment, it became 26 weeks, along with the provision of nursing breaks and crche facilities.However, this does not help women working in the unorganised sector. Female gig workers, including freelancers, platform workers or labourers, and farmers have no such maternity benefits. This, in spite of the fact that the unorganised sector accounts for 93 per cent of the total workforce in India, according to the2019 Economic Survey. As a huge part of this demographic consists of women, they are left with little employment security if they get pregnant. They risk losing out on clients, even as they are ready to work again and many women, discouraged, drop out of the workforce altogether. Gender-biased impact of crisis on womens employment In 1990, the percentage of women in the workforce was around 30 per cent, which dropped down to 18.6 per cent in 2020. That means India lost almost half of its female workforce in three decades. As the pandemic hit, the entire country (as the world) suffered an economic crisis. This led many companies to lay off employees, to stay afloat in the market and survive this period of turmoil. However, did you know that it was mostly women who suffered the blow? Around 17 million women lost their jobs in April 2020, as they were never looked at as primary breadwinners in society, according to an Oxfam report. The report also said that out of all the people who lost their livelihood, women were 23.5 per cent less likely to be hired compared to men, post lockdown. This means that in terms of crisis, womens job security turned out to be way lesser than that of their male counterparts. In such a situation of crisis, womens jobs were considered less important and more disposable than those of men.As 90 per cent of the female population of India remains out of the workforce, it is a glaring matter of concern. Indias work culture is not female-friendly There is a gender pay gap, which makes women often earn less than their male partners. And that also adds unnecessary pressure on women to become primary caregivers, as their jobs are deemed less important due to the lower-income generation. Even to make a career, women have to struggle with so much bias constantly, often at the risk of our mental wellbeing. The stress of overcoming way more obstacles than the average Joe, to break the glass ceiling, to manage work while also taking on the unfairly divided domestic duties, to be undermined and under-evaluated based on your gender and still getting paid less than your male counterpartit takes a toll on many. From freezing offices to the lack of period leaves to redundant gender scripts, Indias work culture is definitely from a male perspective and fails to provide hospitable conditions for women to thrive, without stress. In fact, it goes back to the education level, wherein so many young girls, although equally capable as boys drop out of school due to poverty, period shaming, water crisis, and many more reasons. They never even make it to the workforce, forget having any job security.