Sometime back I got a question from one of my subscriber’s on the Young HR Manager list, on a similar issue. I wrote a reply on the HR Helpline which can be read here. I read an article in Times of India addressing the similar concern and thought of sharing it with my readers. Hope it throws more light on the issue raised by women these days. Check out the article below.
Newspaper: The Times of India
Issue date: 6th July
Author: Mini Joseph Tejaswi TNN
Many women sacrifice their careers for someone or something close to their heart. It could be to move with the spouse to his new work location, to raise a family, or to take care of an ailing parent. A large number of women in the 26 to 38 years age group even stay away from work for fertility treatments.
It is estimated that India has over 1.5 million women who have quit their corporate jobs and who have been out of work for 2 to 10 years. Some 90% of them want to return to work but only 20% are able to do so. That’s because most Indian enterprises are apprehensive of hiring women who have taken breaks, the assumption being that they are not serious professionals.
But things are changing. Many corporates in India—including IBM, Accenture, Cognizant, Genpact, Kotak Group, HUL, Fidelity, Dell, Microsoft, Amazon, Vodafone, HSBC, ABB and Britannia—are said to be working on “returnship’’ or “second career’’ programmes for women. The programme is aimed at bringing women who quit their careers to the workforce again. The initiative is often linked to the companies’ gender diversity drive. Many have an internal mandate for better representation of women. Even the United Nations wants global enterprises to help women rise in organizations, as that’s seen to be critical for sustainable development.
Nirmala Menon, CEO of Interweave Consulting, a Bangalore-based diversity management firm, said, “Companies are currently reworking their HR policies with a focus on diversity and gender inclusion. We help organizations to articulate their policies better.’’
People policies often tend to be biased. Many men are uneasy with having women in leadership roles. Many wonder whether women could travel for weeks—as is required in many jobs today —and whether they could work in the night leaving children and spouses back at home. Such concerns may be relevant for some women, but for many others, they are no longer so. “The leadership in companies should understand these things completely. So we speak to them very candidly. It’s a serious change management issue and a culture change issue. It takes a lot of education,’’ said Menon.
Saundarya Rajesh, founder president of AVTAR Career Creators, a firm that has helped 4,000 women build second careers, said, “When a woman takes an absolutely legitimate break from work, why can’t she come back gracefully? We are not blaming men here. But no one should look at women who are making a come back suspiciously.”
ON THE JOB
• Around 90% of them want to be back at work but only 20% are able to do so
• Most Indian companies don’t see women who have taken breaks in career as serious professionals
• India has estimated 1.5m women who have quit corporate jobs and have been out of work for 2-10 years
What are your views on this? Let me know any initiative taken in your organization in this direction.