Celebrate your daughters

There's good news in the world too!

Celebrate your daughters

It's a Girl!

In a country that privileges a certain gender over another, the birth of a girl child isn't reason enough to celebrate. Sindhu, an Ahmedabad-based hospital is attempting to change that. The hospital has launched an initiative to waive off the hospital fees for parents blessed with a girl child. The initiative is a heartening attempt to fix Gujarat's skewed child sex ratio of 890 girls per 1,000 boys. Mahadev Lohana, managing director of the hospital, told The Times of India,'For years, we observed that a majority of women who came for delivery hoped and prayed for a boy. Sweets would be distributed on the birth of a male child but a girl's arrival would be met with stoic acceptance ... It was time to celebrate [the] arrival of a daughter.' The hospital hasn't stopped at just waiving fees. It also organizes a mini party, with cake and snacks for the family. Now that's the right way to celebrate the birth of a daughter!>

More Than Just a Leave

Here's some genuinely good news for working mothers-to-be. The Rajya Sabha passed the amendments to the Maternity Benefit Bill in August that will allow women 26 weeks of maternity leave. This will be mandatory for both private and government organizations that have 10 or more employees, and for up to two surviving children.

Other important additions include a mandatory provision for a crèche in an organization with 50 or more employees. In cases of surrogacy and adoption, women will be able to avail of 12 weeks of maternity leave. While talking about the bill in the Rajya Sabha, minister Maneka Gandhi said, 'Maternity leave is not a holiday, it is a very stressful time for the mother.'

These amendments, drafted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, will help the 1.8 million women workforce currently in the organized sector.

Inclusive Tourism

Born to a visually impaired father and a mother who is wheelchair-bound, Neha Arora knows the limitations disabled people face, with regard to social interactions. She has now set up Planet Abled-an organization that caters to the travel and recreational needs for the disabled. Based in Delhi, Planet Abled had its first tour in January 2016 and has since ventured into customized tours, solo trips, heritage walks and other events.

Despite a significant disabled citizenry of 2.21 per cent, public spaces in India are not disabled-friendly. Besides the obvious lack of disabled-friendly physical infrastructure, there is also the gawker challenge.

Arora is hopeful that Planet Abled will enable people with disabilities to experience the cities they live in and help them realize the joy of travel. This will, in the process, ensure visibility, which should hopefully lead to acceptance and awareness about disability rights in India.

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