“She’s doing injustice to both by bringing her baby to work” – uh, ok! 1950 called, they want you back!

Published: December 6, 2018
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The photo perfectly described what a modern and strong Pakistani woman looks like: someone who is giving her best at work yet is not neglecting her duties and responsibilities as a mother. PHOTO: TWITTER/ IUSMANALIII

I don’t remember the last time I had time to jot down my thoughts on a piece of paper. The difficulties of being a full-time working mother played a huge role in my ‘hibernation’ from writing.

Recently, I was scrolling through my newsfeed to keep up with the world that exists beyond my hectic routine when a lovely photo caught my attention: it was of a lady bringing her toddler to work and the caption of the news article read: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) woman official sets example by carrying infant while on duty.

As a woman, a mother and a career-oriented person, I felt so much pride. The photo perfectly described what a modern and strong Pakistani woman looks like: someone who is giving her best at work and yet is not neglecting her duties and responsibilities as a mother. However, this positivity was marred by the disappointing yet predictable comments made by our own countrymen.

Instead of encouraging her and acknowledging that working women aren’t automatically ‘bad’ mothers, they continued to indulge in nitpicking. Some disapproved of the woman exposing her baby to pollution and an unhealthy environment while others claimed that bringing her child to work will interfere with the job she is paid to do.

There were also those who seemed to be coming from a place of professional jealousy when they questioned why should she be allowed to take her baby to work when doctors aren’t allowed to do the same. Then came the disgusting comments accusing the woman of just trying to seek attention and jokingly called for other professionals to take their kids to battlefields and laboratories.

This insensitive attitude of Pakistani men is neither new nor surprising. They have always blamed and insulted women who have broken the glass ceiling and tried to set new positive trends. Many Pakistani women who are revered internationally are constantly humiliated and disrespected at home by the same people. Our dear men try to compete with the rest of the world when it come to science, technology, health and educational facilities. They look up to the western lifestyle yet completely ignore how working mothers are facilitated and accommodated abroad.

Just a couple of months ago, the prime minister of New Zealand was seen taking her baby to the United Nations General Assembly. She was happy to be there for her baby as well as perform her duties as the PM. Moreover, women in rural areas have always helped men in farming and outdoor chores while carrying babies, hence this recent incident shouldn’t come as a shock to this country. Why the “haww, haye“?

What perhaps was more alarming and hurtful was how many women also bashed the assistant commissioner and shared the same sentiments as the aforementioned men. It is unfortunate that many women instead of supporting and uplifting other women, constantly drag them down. It is apparent that these women only spewed out venom because they don’t have the same opportunities, courage and resilience to pursue their dreams as this brave official did.

Our society is extremely selfish and hypocritical when it comes to dealing with women. A man would readily marry an educated, highly paid working woman. His family would expect and love the gifts she would buy for them from her own salary and take pride in having a “doctor bahu or “afsar bahu”. After marriage, she would constantly be interrogated about when she will contribute to the ever-growing population of the world. However, they would not pay attention to the difficulties and burdens she would go through when she becomes a mother.

Once the baby arrives, the same women who had interrogated her would start blaming the woman for sacrificing her family to earn money. They would criticise her for not staying at home and making do with what the husband brings home. These individuals fail to understand that women work exhausting hours to provide the best for their families which would otherwise be difficult. Instead of realising how hard it is for women to juggle work life and motherhood, our people continue to throw stones at the women who have proved themselves to be better and stronger. Consequently, women often give up their careers after having a baby. Or, most of the time, their mothers look after the kids while they work and follow their dreams. Neither the husband nor his family tries to share the responsibility.

This incident should serve as a wake up call for men who burden women with all the responsibilities of raising a child. Our men should realise that they cannot just get off the hook by providing a surname and some monetary amount for their kid. Instead of criticising the officer for bringing her baby to work, they should perhaps help out their partners with their babies. Raising children is after all a shared responsibility.

Furthermore, with Pakistan crawling its way up to becoming a welfare state and organisations welcoming talented women, it is the responsibility of employers to make work environment friendly for mothers. They should have a proper daycare system set up where mothers can safely leave their kids under supervision and work stress-free. It will be easier for them to then tend to their children’s needs during break-time. This way none of the responsibilities will be compromised.

On a side note, as a mother who has held her babies many times while working, be it at office or in the kitchen, a baby carrier is a big help and for outdoors, a stroller is a must. These will let the mothers work freely.

As I type this with my right hand while carrying my infant in my lap, I want give a huge shout-out to all the women who are trying hard to make both ends meet and fulfilling their responsibilities to the best of their abilities.

You’re all iron ladies!

All photos: Express

Yousra Javaid

Yousra Javaid

A Masters in English literature with distinction, Lecturer, living in an era where being normal is probably the most special thing one can do. The usual beliefs, contradictions and complications to follow. She tweets @YousJavaid twitter.com/YousJavaid

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Usman Ahmed

    Pardon my capitalist mindset, but speaking strictly business why should I as a business owner hire a man/woman who brings his/her kids to my workplace and hinders the over all productivity?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Have to agree with you …. it’s high time our attitudes change to keep in step with changing times.Recommend

  • Salma Rajput

    It has nothing to do whether it’s a man or woman.Bringing kid to office will surely affect your work. And must only be allowed as a last resort. You are not professional if you are bringing your kids to your work place,period. 2018 called, not only women but men are also raising children. Don’t make your argument in favor of women only.Recommend

  • Nick Johns

    Ever heard the concept of Child Care centers ?Recommend

  • Saad Cheepa

    Ever heard the concept of Old Age Home…. when toddler grown up in Child Care Centers, they left their parents in Old Age Home in their Old Age.
    Tit for Tat for broad minded people.Recommend

  • Saad Cheepa

    I always admire the working lady. it’s not a big issue to be a working women while being a mother. or else state should give them home support in their expenses before asking them not to work.Recommend

  • Saad Cheepa

    working women is the founder for the next generation. one can not appreciate then at least do not criticize or better stay dumb.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)

    One reason of immense human misery are the inadequate, hostile and detrimental environmental conditions for the babies. Disturbances in the primary “oral stage” of the baby lead inevitably to lifelong personality disorders. We 200 million Pakistanis are largely a society of 200 million very disturbed babies. That explains why the dark side of our individual and collective personality is so bright and illuminated!
    In the psychological treatment of adults, one very popular topic is the “Weeping Child” in grown ups!
    Ms Yousra Javaid should write a blog from the perspective of the baby!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Pardon my progressive mind…..but in forward looking, enlightened organization they provide for a child care unit mostly inside the premise if space permits…..and it’s a win-win for both.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Not every working woman has the support network of cousins, aunts, sisters, mother, mother in law, nieces, grandmothers, female third cousins thrice removed, to take care of the baby, while the mother goes to work, pays taxes, contributes to the economy and be productive.
    Besides, who else can take better care and ‘FEED’ the baby than the mother herself!!?!
    Not all mothers want their babies on a baby formula, or condensed milk, or freezed dried milk, or pasteurized milk or bottled milk or boiled cow’s milk, or buffalo milk.Recommend

  • AJ

    I am a part time working woman and even though I am not allowed to take my toddler with me, I support this. It is not easy so if she or any woman (even man) is taking care of both responsibilities, it should be encouraged or not mocked at the very least. When women are supposed to leave their careers/work after marriage/birth, then if men with this mentality (not all men) cannot do the same, atleast they should be supportive.Recommend

  • Kevin Sean

    Good of her not to neglect any one thing in favor of the other. As far as choices go, well we don’t really know what her home conditions are like. Maybe she has to earn to keep the wheel running. Support is the first thing that comes to mind here.Recommend

  • ali

    I think it will surely affect work. period. the author has written 500 words in her favor. but i highly doubt if she have to she will hire her over somewhat less qualified person without child. she will choose her.Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Pardon my minimalist mindset .

    But why should i pay
    $x+$baby care money
    to a woman

    when i can pay $x to a man?

    Reply with logic pleaseRecommend

  • Alter Ego

    He did not ask the cause .
    But he asked why should he hire a women with a baby when it will hinder/reduce the productivity of the workplace.
    Or should the productivity of the workplace be lessened because of the mother taking care of the child.
    Understand the comment first.Recommend

  • Patwari

    When you have a candidate, who fits the job requirements in triplicate,
    and is exactly what your business needs then you revisit your priorities.
    Thank God she is working in a place where her dept. her boss has empathy. And understands the needs of employees.
    See, employees are not robots. They are human beings. And have the
    usual issues associated with people.
    She was hired and was working long before the baby came. Many women have babies during the course of their employment. Nothing new there.
    The real question here is, IF he had hired a good candidate who fit the job
    perfectly and later had a baby,…will the employer now say :-
    “I have to let you go, because you can no longer work effectively, because of the baby.” Or will he try to work something out, instead of loosing a good efficient employee?
    Good employers everywhere in the WORLD take care and accommodate
    their employees….or their businesses are marked for failures. Guaranteed.
    Now, then, are YOU able to grasp the concept?Recommend

  • Patwari

    That is called discrimination. Gender based. Not hiring a woman because
    she has a baby, or may have a baby down the course of her employment.
    Since for some reason, you used the dollar $ symbol, here is US law interpretation :-
    Under Title 7 US law on discrimination, based on ethnic, racial, gender, religious or sexual orientation is prohibited.. To put it in layman’s simple language.
    That behavior would land you in jail. Serving time. Not to mention the legal
    fees, plus the monetary award won by the woman litigant.
    So $xbaby care money will result in $$x 80,000×10+attorney fees plus court costs plus the fine and possible incarceration.Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Most employers/managers are decent human beings.

    But their main responsibility is not your child welfare but the smooth working of the place of business.

    And babies disrupt the place of business.

    An employer can give a paid leave to a mother but bringing a baby to the workplace decreases productivity.Recommend

  • Patwari

    You changed the goal posts, again. “…employers can give ‘paid’ leave of absence…” if that had been the case, then your your WHOLE contention
    is MOOT and VOID. There is no mention of maternity leave. [Not to mention some employers simply cannot afford to give paid leave of absence]
    Doubt very much that employers in Pakland are that progressive.
    Not to mention that a maternity leave of absence, PAID or UNPAID could be anywhere from 3 months to 6 months. After that,…then what?
    The baby gets up and changes it’s own diapers, heats it’s own milk, eats it’s own baby food, maybe watch it’s own midday soaps/dramas on TV…?
    Back to the original subject…some women simply do not have the support network to care for the baby while they work.
    Ever seen photographs of women working the fields, harvesting crops or doing other manual labor while carrying the baby strapped to their backs!!!??!! This fact is from time immemorial and is even done now in the 21st century.
    You can see these photographs from the Eskimos, to Africa, China, the Sub Continent, to the far reaches of Eastern Asia.
    Now, then, are YOU able to grasp the concept?Recommend

  • https://blogs.tribune.com.pk/poetic-license Minahel Ahmad

    You say men are raising children, but even in 2018, what men call ‘caring’ is providing for their needs in the form of money, or coming home at night and spending a few hours with their children.
    Enter a mother who works and is also under the pressure of raising her child. Do take notice here that raising a child for a mother is spending all her time with her, feeding him, clothing him, educating him, making sure he is okay ALL THE TIME and whatnot. If a man does all this, believe me, he will also feel the need to take his baby with him to work.
    So unless one parent stays at home when the other goes to work or is ready to take care of the child by tending to every single requirement, you can not say that the definition of raising children is mutual for men and women in this society where 2018 ‘calls’.Recommend

  • https://blogs.tribune.com.pk/poetic-license Minahel Ahmad

    Pardon me, but do child care centers provide a child the care that a mother can? At an early age, no day care can look after the baby like a mother can.Recommend

  • https://blogs.tribune.com.pk/poetic-license Minahel Ahmad

    Just because you yourself do not spend 24 hours of the day looking after your child and tending to his/her every single need doesn’t mean you criticize hiring of a woman/man just because she has to raise a child. Your mother raised you once too, didn’t she? Had she been a working woman, I’m sure she would have had to face a lot of troubles as well.Recommend