Coming soon: The year of the women

The Malaysian government in its 2018 budget has declared the year as the women empowerment year. Below is an overview of the steps it has announced.

  1. Women must occupy 30% on the Boards of Directors of the government linked companies.
  2. Private sector employers to increase their mandatory maternity leave from 60 to 90 days.
  3. Government has proposed a 12 month income tax exemption for women who re-enter the workforce after a break of at least 2 years.
  4. All new office buildings are mandated to have accessible child care at work.
  5. Malaysian government has allocated RM 20 million (apprx. Rs. 32.3 cr. In INR) for women to attend training and entrepreneurship programs.


When I was reading an article on this, I couldn’t help but feel impressed. The above measures are by no means small. They are clearly chalked out to show visible changes and within a short time frame of 2-3 years. My mind immediately started juxtaposing the situation to India.

The idea is not to get into any sort of feminist or women’s lib spiel. But truth be told, for women to continue in work force and remain gainfully employed after motherhood, aren’t there more detractors in our country?

Well to be fair, I decided to not go by my prejudices and look up a bit. The government in its 5 year plans right from the first one, has earmarked initiatives for women’s economic and social welfare. For example, During the 7th plan period, the Indian Parliament adopted a ‘National Policy on Education 1986’ which included a chapter on Education for women’s equality.

A national perspective plan for women was brought out by Ministry of HRD between 1988 to 2000. There have been schemes like Swashakti, Swayamsidha from time to time in various policy decisions, which would have definitely contributed to women’s cause.

To add, here are some top stats on the website of Ministry of Labour and Employment.

  • As per Census 2011, the total number of female workers in India is 149.8 million and female workers in rural and urban areas are 121.8 and 28.0 million respectively.
  • As per the last Employment Review by Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T), on 31st March, 2011, about 59.54 lakh women workers were employed in the organised sector (Public and Private Sector).

Coming across such measures by government was, I can say, quite heartening. Still a question haunts me, what are the big benefactors for women in workforce in our country?

I tried hard to remember. Sure, I could think of one -The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill in 2016 was said to benefit 1.8 million women. The Bill took India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave after Canada and Norway where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively – a move of a similar calibre to that announced by Malaysian government.

Yes, we definitely need more of those. And then will dawn on us THE YEAR OF THE WOMEN.



The Collector’s Edition

Recently we had an oh-so-formal birthday party invite of an year old. Well it was a fun party but a bit formal since it was husband’s boss’. Once the wives were introduced to each other and left to chat up, the gentlemen promptly made way to the bar.

I met a fellow momey who had taken a break from flying to look after her then 2 year old son’s growing needs. Now comes the interesting part – she is now working as a freelance educator for Cuemath. It started with her trying to explore new learning channels for her son, but soon they approached her to become an educator herself.

With ‘screen time’ becoming a major pet-peeve for all parents these days, engaging in alternate education methods made a lot of sense. After I came home and pondered more about it, I started to think, what were the things that kept us occupied in our childhood when screen options were practically zilch.

I recalled how ‘collecting’ was big with us. It was engaging and informative both. Collection of currency, postage stamps, books, doll sets, scrap book memorabilia and what not.

They say coin collecting is part all – art, science and history. You don’t have to aim to become a Numismatist. That may require in-depth academic knowledge of currency. Collection can be done purely as a Hobby. There’s always the advantage of knowing about the country where your collection of coin or paper currency comes from. Matching currencies with countries used to be a regular question in my GK test papers J Knowing coin’s worth in home currency, ease of getting it, can help unearth the value and joy in collecting. There’s a fair bit of history hidden as one takes note of year of making of the coins, symbols inscribed in designs, metals used, thereby telling about the era it represents.

There are ranking systems also used by pro collectors but its definitely advanced and not a pre-requisite to enjoy being a mere collector for hobby. It is also an interesting game between enthusiasts to trade your surplus coins. Trading adds to the collection and it can make you earn when higher value coin is traded for lower value.

There are moments of joys and jealousies as we form a little group of enthusiasts and compare our collections. If a friend managed to get a currency before it would be a big disappointment. But a dime more in our kitty and we would be on seventh heaven J

Those were good ole’ days. Even now I have a bit of interest in collecting coins which I am determined to pass on as a hobby to my lil one. So long as it keeps the screen at bay, it would be worth his while.

Back in the party, once our glasses arrived; the chit chat slowly gave way to some great music and food. I had a heck of a time myself.

Happy New year lovelies!