Being Women

Prega News Women’s Day Ad – How Progressive It Is ?

Break the biases. Hunt down the missing husband and show him taking the baby from the mother/SSP, feeding and soothing it to sleep, telling her that she need not carry both - her job and motherhood - alone.

Come March and there’s a surfeit of advertisements celebrating the joy of womanhood and motherhood, and Prega News is not an exception. Like their previous ads, the latest Prega News ad is also touted to be a well-meaning one, an ad that celebrates the innate strength, grit, and determination of women.

A young woman is speaking to someone on the phone about how her pregnancy could wreak havoc for her modelling career. She enters the railway station’s waiting lounge where she finds a young mother trying to calm down her crying child. A conversation ensues between the lounge attendant, the mother and another woman, clad in a trouser suit and working on her laptop. The young model observes everything from one corner of the room.

But before I share my thoughts about this, watch the advertisement here to get more clarity on the topic.

Now apparently the advertisement has received heaps of appreciation from women and men alike for showing the power of women in a positive light, that #shecancarryboth. However, it’s not a recent phenomenon that women have started to take up paid jobs outside the home. Women have been doing that for ages, looking after their families and children simultaneously.

What is it that this ad is actually trying to prove or convey? Is this ad as sweet, progressive, and well-meaning as it appears to be? Well, let’s try to look at it from different points of view. Of course, one can argue in favour of and against the message it tries to convey, overtly or covertly, but let’s be civil about that.

1. First things first, Prega News is a pregnancy test kit so it is bound to speak about only what it sells-motherhood.

2. It speaks of choice-a woman’s choice to become a mother or not. (Really?)

3. It promotes the notion that women can be a mother and careerwomen at the same time and do it all happily.

Does the ad get the act right? Does it actually empower women with this message? Does it succeed in avoiding the stereotypes while claiming to be a progressive one?

Sadly, no.

4. The mother is dressed in a simple, crumpled cotton saree blouse and bindi to intentionally create the illusion of a typical housewife. She’s calm and patient and continues to smile even when the career woman speaks rudely with her, again the traits of a submissive, docile woman.

5. The career woman (assumed to be not a mother) dressed in a trouser suit in complete contrast to the mother in a saree. Her speaking to the mother and the lounge attendant in an arrogant, judgmental, condescending tone subtly reinforces the belief that women who choose to remain childfree in order to achieve success in their career turn out to be rude and insolent persons, especially towards stay-at-home mothers/women. Why was this kind of negative portrayal was needed? Is it not being judgmental of women who make a different choice?

6. The lounge attendant happily, proudly talking about doing duty for her children after a rigorous ten-hour shift at her job. Is it humanly possible for anyone to be so upbeat and chirpy about slogging day in and day out? Doesn’t a mother need any rest, does anyone care about her health? And more importantly, doesn’t this statement again perpetuate the typical goddess and superwoman image created for working (?) mothers?

7. The SSP has ample support staff at her disposal to take care of her child in her absence but the ad spares no concern for the mothers who don’t have that privilege, those who have to slog at their jobs despite the unempathetic, uncooperative, unsupportive attitude of family, colleagues, and bosses.

8. No man/husband/partner is mentioned to be sharing the parenting responsibility with the mothers who, apart from the responsibility of family and home, also have a gruelling job outside the home. This again insinuates that women are not only the primary caregivers but sole caregivers too and that they can carry both responsibilities alone.

9. However, the young woman’s dilemma is also valid because she’s in the entertainment industry where shapes and looks matter the most for women. That she changes her mind after this conversation and chooses to continue with her pregnancy is entirely her choice and must also be celebrated.

Now one may argue that becoming a mother is one of the greatest joys (and it really is for a majority of women) but do we care enough about the mental, physical and emotional health of women – the hormonal lows and highs, mood swings, the physical strain that most women undergo during and after pregnancy and delivery not to talk of postpartum depression.

Last but not the least, what about the agency and choice of women/couples who don’t want to become mothers/parents despite there being no physical (and financial) problems whatsoever? What about the ones who make a different choice? Those who want to adopt a child, who want to devote their lives to social service (we have so many examples of people who chose to not even get married, let alone have kids), and those who simply don’t want to add to the burgeoning population by giving birth to another child?

Why can’t their choices be respected too? Perspectives matter, right? After all, as the SSP also says ye sirf nazariye ki to baat hai.

So what could the copywriters and creative directors have done to make this ad more acceptable?

Simple. Get rid of the stereotypes.

1. Break the biases. Hunt down the missing husband and show him taking the baby from the mother/SSP, feeding and soothing it to sleep, telling her that she need not carry both – her job and motherhood – alone. Make #sharedparenting a norm.

2. Show the SSP madam more nattily dressed instead of giving her the typical housewife look.

3. Make the tone of the career woman in the trouser suit less judgmental and condescending, more empathetic and understanding. After all, if women often pull other women down, they also support and build their sisters up.

But then positivity and facts don’t sell a product, compartmentalization and glorification do, superwoman and wonder woman labels do. Especially on #womensday and #mothersday. #PregaNews #WomensDay2022





By Seema Taneja

A former educator, Seema Taneja is a bi-lingual blogger, blogger, and poet. She writes on gender and social issues, child rights, economy, and politics. Her short stories and poems have been featured in several anthologies and she is a recipient of Orange Flower Awards for writing on social causes. She can be contacted at

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One Response

  1. Finally someone spoke this out. Thought of this so many times since I have seen the ad.
    But never could explain, as I dont have such a great ability to pen it down.
    Thank you for this amazing article👏

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