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The other day I was talking to a male friend who is in the process of setting up a new business. While chatting with him about his potential employees, he joked about paying a certain employee less, because she was single and did not have to be paid as much as a married woman. I shot him a dirty look and we exchanged words, as friends do. But at the end of the day, I know that he was joking. The problem however is that not everyone who deals with this sort of situation is.
A woman’s marital status is still a big deal as far as her employment prospects are concerned. Last month I wrote about women in the Indian army. My post was about women getting long term commissions and combat roles, and this is a job posting, I came across while researching for the post.
“Indian Army invites applications from married/unmarried male and unmarried female and also from widows of Defence Personnel for grant of Short Service Commission”
You can see this online here.
So in short, married women seem to be persona non-grata.
The discrimination is not just limited to the Army though. Far from!
And it is also not just the married women who take a hit. A little more digging on Google led to this query on an HR forum
“Dear All, Do we have any Law in India against Discrimination in Employment /workplace . I am aware that in the US there are many laws protecting employees against discrimination on the grounds of Gender , Age ,Race , Religion ,marital status etc . During a recent interview one of my friends was asked by the prospective employer if she was planning to get married in the near future. The profile had nothing to do with the marital status. These questions are a form of discrimination.”
A friend who works as an HR recruiter in Bangalore tells me that there are many companies who choose to ignore female bachelors degree holders, in the age group of 22- 26 for entry-level positions. The unsaid implication is that these women are most likely to get married and move or quit or get pregnant and then go on leave and so might end up being a liability for the company. Men with the same qualifications and in the same age group, however face no such issues in getting recruited.
Why is a woman’s career inextricably linked to her family life?
So much so that when Forbes releases a list about the most powerful women in the world, their profiles also mention whether they are married or not and whether they have kids or not.
As long as a woman has a strong resume, why should her marital status come into play?
Anyone out there who has had to face discrimination on the basis of their marital status?
Would love to hear from you on how you dealt with it.
Pic credit: Grand Velas Riviera (Used under a Creative Commons license)
Shweta Ganesh Kumar is a Novelist, Award-winning Blogger and Founder-Editor of The Times
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