Why only a new mother is doubted of her efficacy in office whereas the new father is continued to be looked at in the same manner?

Whenever I’m appearing for an interview,now a days, the first question asked to me on a personal front is

“Are you sure you want to take up a full time job? You have a 1 year old daughter,will you be able to manage?”

What is wrong with this question? Well,nothing much except it irks me that these type of questions are asked only to new mothers who want to resume their careers.

Why is it not a point of concern when new fathers appear for an interview ?

Ain’t a father equally responsible in performing the role of a caretaker as much as the mother ? If you look technically,I think breastfeeding is the only task that a father cannot perform,no matter how strongly he might want to pitch in,rest all comes under fathers-can-do-too category.

So why this differentiation in an outlook towards female candidates? I’ve not come across any male,a new father to be precise,being questioned like this. He is not even questioned on the family set up and how the child will be taken care of,etc.

We talk about female rights, modernization of thoughts and no gender bias. So at least people who belong to a certain class,educated,are expected to open their brains and think wide,no?

But soon before I could answer this question myself,I’ve come to believe that education brings in change but it alone is not enough to ‘service’ the age old mentality!

A mother is by default the one to pause her career,even take a break if required and should be available to her child 24*7.

No matter how the husbands of today have come forward to take equal share of responsibilities in household tasks and child rearing, the society collectively still attaches all this to women.

Moreover, male candidates in general, are not asked questions like

“When do you plan to get married?”

the perspective being- even if he gets married he is not going to be the one to change locations.

“Do you plan to have children sometime soon?”

the perspective being-Hell,even he does,he is not required to take a break,so why bother!

“Is your family ready to relocate with you?”

the perspective being- Of course his family will relocate with him no matter his wife might have some issue s in that!

Whereas,when a female student is appearing in placement interviews she without fail is asked

“What if you get married sometime soon?How will you manage the new job and personal life?”

the perspective being-a newly female has several roles to play in her new home and the husband? No changes in his life,didn’t they tell you?

“What if you get married soon and your husband belongs to another city? Will you leave your job?”

the perspective being- Who considers that the husband can consider leaving his job and change locations for his wife,eh?

And a female candidate who is newly married is asked about her plans to get into the family way etc etc.

Also, female candidates applying to a job in a different city than her current location is asked

“Is your husband ready to relocate?”

the perspective being- Have you taken his permission?

I have no issues in being asked such questions. A company by all means has a right to know such stuff so that the prospective employers can plan the roles and responsibilities accordingly if they are going to recruit the candidate.

I have issues in the perspective by which these questions are asked.Why does it invariably becomes only a females responsibility to quit the job if she gets married to another city? Why does it necessarily becomes females job to make sure her family is ready to move with her for her new job whereas a male candidate changing locations is a unsaid rule that the family will shift?

I don’t know if I’m making any sense..just that me having a little baby makes me any lesser efficient candidate? No way,I’m not ready to take that! I’ve delivered a baby not transformed totally to another person that all my work-ex goes out of my head,huh!

Did you working mothers have any such experience in your professional lives?

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57 thoughts on “Why only a new mother is doubted of her efficacy in office whereas the new father is continued to be looked at in the same manner?

      1. I had just opened my account when I saw your post 😀

        And then I was called for a meeting, toh socha..why not I play the number game 😛

        My sis-in-law has a 1.5 year old kid and she was faced with the same questions, “Who will take care of the kid? How will you manage?” while attending job interviews. Two-three companies downright refused stating that the job needed the candidate to do night shifts. Luckily one company accepted her and even gave her sanctions to go on emergencies.

        I wish you get a nice company soon Scribby 🙂

    1. Back to continue

      but but…in my previous organization, when it was time for appraisal in 2008, I was told that I will not be given any bonus or promotion because I would be on three months maternity leave…yes…thats true *shakes head in disgust* then my boss change from a female to male and he ensured that I got a promotion if not the bonus…seriously a female boss didnt understand the logic of maternity leave while a male boss just looked at me a contributor and not as a ‘mother’ !!!!

      1. yes there are managers who don’t bother with the personal status of the candidate/employee…like when I moved to Mumbai, Husby was still in here but the company I got recruited didn’t pay much attention to whether my husband will move or not but they asked me for sure….

        but in general there is this mentality in employers to poke their noses in candidate’s personal lives…I’m myself in HR so I know the interview process inside out..

        Oh and talk about female managers…most of the time it is a bad experience with the female managers…ironically so!

  1. I agree. The companies ask all these questions and much more… apart from age old philosophy, since the companies lose many moms due to babies, hubby’s change of job, marriage etc. that’s why they ask.

    But yes, it feels that one is not being judged for the intellect and working capability but for how many children one have.

    1. that’s exactly my point..these question should be asked to both the sexes with same intentions..that’s how we bring the no gender bias mindset or else how would new mothers would have a career at all?

      1. What I mean to say is that they till date have not lost men due to the birth of baby, marriage or job relocation of wife. So my point is that they are not always biased but practicality also forces them to do so.

        Having said that it still does not make it justified.

        1. oh yes I get your point and that’s where I have a problem..if the companies become patient and create an environment facilitating new mothers to work hassles free and encourage recruitment of mothers wanting to work after a break….that’ll be a kind of contribution to the society in changing the mindset..

          women do need to take a break for minimum of 3 months post pregnancy and such but then that doesn’t mean they become non functional after that…etc.. but if the companies are willing to come ahead and support women then on their part too they’ll not loose their [women] employees who come at a recruitment cost to them…

          I hope I made my point clear this time 🙂 🙂 heheheh

  2. Oh this is one painful thing that every woman has to go through. In fact DIL’s employers were shocked when she told them everyone in my family is an adult and we dont have to baby sit each other. I can work any hours I chose to

    1. that’s wonderful of her 🙂 I,possibly,shocked the recent interviewer by telling him that ‘the very fact that I’m sitting in front of you here means that I don’t have to worry about how my child will be looked after and FYI my husband shares the responsibility by coming home early and sometimes leaving late if required for the baby’ 😀

                1. OMG we thought alike 🙂 right they ‘great minds think alike’ 😉 Muwah!

                  I’ve read his entire series…I was so sad to hear about his demise 😦 wanted to read so much more of his work!!! In fact I have the entire Sydney Sheldon collection at home 🙂

                  1. I fall in love with your “about me”, love your handle and the posts and then you go on to make me J ! Boo hoo – really? You haev the entire collection. My father has a lot of them -Archer, Sheldon, Ludlum, Puzo but I don’t think he has the complete collection though.
                    Yay ya! Muah – at great minds 😛
                    I liked his stories so much too 😦 Yes, great loss. But see that’s the thing about writings – Sheldon is still immortal thru’ them. 🙂

  3. //“What if you get married soon and your husband belongs to another city? Will you leave your job?”// yes, i was asked this question in my placement interview..

    later i joined my present company, where the story is different.. very first day, my boss told me that he wouldn’t transfer me to my native, and asked me not to ask for. and hence this physical separation for me and my husband..

    after having baby it was taken for granted that i will take too many leaves. and ppl started teasing that i govt. employee na.. u can take 720 days of childcare rule anytime.. i get irritated.. they are nt giving me any site work, as i have baby, so they dont expect me to stay back.. for which i am happy…

  4. Talk about it! I had a hard time getting a job when I relocated to India. Reason being, your husband is pursuing an MBA. You’ll quit and join him once it gets over! Irritated me to no length. And no one was ready to believe that he would look for a job in the same city that I was already placed in! Which he did BTW and landed in the same company too 🙂

  5. Huh…
    I’ve faced all of that Scribby.
    When i resumed by work post delivery(in my previous office) all my work was given to other staff. I was given only little to handle. My promotion was held up twice, stating that I have a baby and wont be able to handle the work.

    It was a tough phase…I even fought with the management…but then…some things never change. I quit my job and took a break .

    Then when I started to go for interviews when Samu was 3yrs, and agin the questions started. This time it was “Are you planning to have a second child soon?”

    So i guess this trend continues. Unfortunately changing Diapers, feeding, and the work related to a baby is MOM’s responsibility, whether a working mom or housemaker.

    Strange

    1. oh tell me about the question about the second child! It’s so disgusting no? We as couple also don’t have a particular date/month in mind when we would want our second child..we don’t even know if we will have our second child and now these employers expect us to tell them this …only if we could have been astrologers,yeah? 😀

  6. Hey Hugs to you!!!
    Thankfully, i was never asked such a question in any of my interview….though in my campus placement, i was asked whether i was planning to write GRE and go abroad!!!!
    Recently i met one of my old HR manager at an event, he offered to arrange an interview, but then as an afterthought asked me what was my plan about my daughter!!
    This experience of yours has frightened me though…i am hoping to join back the workforce, let’s see how it turns out for me!!!

    1. Hugs right back T2M 🙂

      you are lucky for not being asked such questions, touchwood 🙂

      oh don’t get frightened…just maintain your stance that you are determined to get back to your career…not every employer asks this but yes there are many who do…all the best for the times when you start looking out 🙂

  7. Firstly, I cannot believe they ask such questions during interviews!!! Given that I’ve never given an interview in India I am shocked. Over here there are NO personal questions because it will be defying the anti-discrimination act. No one asks questions about marital status, pregnancy status or future personal plans. It’s all about the job. And that’s how it should be. You are going for a job interview…to display your skills and competencies with regards to the role. Not to tell them what is going on in your personal life and your personal plans!!!

    1. I know I’ve read the PHR book based on US laws and there it has clearly mentioned that personal questions are a strict no-no…but in India the scene is different…the employers ask and since the candidates/employees don’t possibly object,it’s taken for granted that they are okay being asked on personal front !

  8. Well, they are in many ways acknowledging that a mother is actually doing the most ? 🙂 Just trying to see the sunny side 😛
    I totally know where you are coming from. Last year before I got married, I used to have seeta, meeta, ram and shyam asking me whether I will continue to work, which city and so on. I used to think it as a way of life – I mean, people tend to compromise, move out etc. but asking them in jobs is probably a sign that they want to make sure you will stay with them and not quit?

    But that doesn’t justify them NOT asking fathers that question. What did you reply Scribby? I am eager to know 🙂 Did you give it to them nicely 😕 tell me tell me 🙂

    1. oh yes the sunny side is always there K 🙂

      lol @ seeta,meeta,ram and shyam 😉

      that’s the whole point..if are worried about the personal status then be worried in equal terms for men and women both! At least stop being biased in this 🙂

  9. I think you answered all the questions yourself — the way things have been and the set mentality is behind it. And, aren’t the majority of population actually following these norms as well? I guess, since you understand where the questions are coming from, prepare some fundoo answers and go that will blow their mind off :).

    1. Yep I’ve pretty much answered all my discomfort myself 🙂 but going deeper I would want at least this educated society to bend their minds and contribute in bringing the change,however small that may be [or bigger!]

      thank you RP 🙂

  10. Absolutely agree with your points! Education alone cannot help in bringing about a change..the mentality has to change too!

    Good luck with your job hunt, Scribby!

  11. ha! I agree with you… I remember in one interview I was asked about marriage and kids when I wasn’t even engaged to K! And I remember asking him back the same question! 😛
    He shut up after that.

    I don’t mind such questions, but they need to be asked in a professional way and not in a condescending way!

    All the best with job hunt babes! 🙂

  12. well said Scribby!!

    ” I’ve delivered a baby not transformed totally to another person that all my work-ex goes out of my head,huh!” – speaks it all. It would be nice if employers understand this.

    Hope your talents are recognized soon and wish for you to land up in an awesome job soon!!

  13. Yes, I’ve been asked this question too…sadly 😦
    I agree with all that you’ve said here..the questions and concerns per se are not be blamed. It is the conditioning of the society, the attitude which needs an overhaul. Unless these are done, new mothers will never be able to have the opportunity of being treated at par with her male counterparts.
    Loved your answers too 🙂
    came here via Jas’s blog. Following you now.

  14. I dont want to start a Panga at what I am going to write , for I am seeing it as it is .. these are valid questions .. but i think the reason why a new mother is looked like that and not a new father .. for a mother is exhausted and tired and has a lot to do more with the child growing up ( AND THIS IS NOT in a bad way) general term i am saying .. and a father is up and about on the day of the child birth as he has not gone through all those Biological changes in him..

    But saying that I think that’s more in india here I have seen women come to work within 3-4 days of child birth..

    anyway You take care and all the best with the job hunt , I am sure you will have soon and some one will ask you genuine work related questions , rather then personal ones ..

    1. oh I know what you are saying but then I was asked this today, when my daughter is 1.5 years young, which kind of kicked me,you getting me?

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