UGC to give extra time and maternity leave to married women who wish to finish higher studies

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Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, announced that married women can now avail more time to complete their MPhil and PhD degrees

In what can only be described as good news for married women who want to pursue higher studies, University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced that they can now avail extra time.

The announcement was made by the Union Minister for Human Resource and Development, Smriti Irani, who explained that this rule applies to differently-abled and married women who want to pursue Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) and Doctrate of Philosophy (PhD). 

Key points

  • All women including the 40 percent differently-abled candidates will be given extra time to complete the two said degrees
  • Married women who are pursuing the two degrees will be given maternity leave and child care leave of up to 240 days
  • All students who registered to M Phil and PhD programmes before June 11, 2009, will be exempted from the minimum eligibility criteria of the National Eligibility Criteria (NET) or state level eligibility criteria including those applying for the post assistant professor
  • Women scholar who relocate because of marriage will be allowed to transfer the research data to the university of her desire, but she must give credit to the parent institution

Purpose of the introduced change

The purpose of this change was to promote more participation of these candidates in educational fields to give them a fair chance to existing competition. A report by a leading daily quoted Irani as saying, "In terms of M.Phil for two years, we have extended that limit to three years, and in Ph.D, we are hoping to increase it to eight years instead of six."

She also added that while many women did in fact pursue higher education in India, only a handful of them joined as faculty in universities. She also spoke about the allowances such women will get in case they decide to migrate.

"We are also going to ensure that we give them allowance for migration from one university to another, given that the facilities within the area they are working on is available in the university they are migrating to," she said.

"We need to work 10 times more than men"

Speaking earlier during the silver jubilee function of Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha's Cummins College of Engineering in Pune, Irani discussed the challenges faced by professional women and how they have to prove their worth.

"We need to work 10 times more than men. People believe that if you are competitive then you are not domestic enough. I hope the new generation will usher in a new era and not use gender, but will succeed purely on their merit and capacity to deliver," the minister was reportedly quoted as saying.

She also spoke about biases against women. "We still ask a married women who works, how she manages to balance home, how she manages to cook and whether she takes care of her motherly duties. These questions are not asked to married men who work. We haven't overcome these mental blocks. On the other hand, there is nothing bad about nurturing and being feminine," she said.


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(Image courtesy: Livemint, HuffingtonPost)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj