The government and corporate sector have crafted a host of new policy measures and initiatives to deal with work-life conflict for the female workforce. Maternity Benefit Amendment Bill 2016 extended the maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks. Initiatives by companies range from flexible working hours to childcare facilities. In spite of that, almost half of all employed women drop out of the workforce just before they turn 30, and 48% drop out of workforce within the first four months of return from maternity leave.

As evident, there is a gap in ongoing initiatives that help retain women in the workforce post maternity. According to a report by AVTAR-I WIN-Over 60% of Indian women are unsure about the decision of whether to stay or leave after childbirth.

In this context, Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership envisages to create an end to end platform that would address the re-entry barriers for returning mothers across sectors. To create a platform, it is imperative that the Breakthrough programme is embedded in a true understanding of the re-entry barriers faced by mothers and re-integrating challenges faced by employers. To explore the complex network of individual, social, and workplace factors that force women to leave the workforce post pregnancy and child birth, GCWL undertook a research in urban India among the women in the organised sector. The research focused on mining insights on enablers and challenges faced by women at high risk of dropping out due to pregnancy and child care.

The report launch on April 25, 2018 brought together prominent leaders, human resources and diversity & inclusion professionals from the corporate and development sector to discuss the key findings of the research and deliberate over the way forward for retaining talent. The research informs GCWL’s initiative to create an end to end platform envisioned to address re-entry barriers for returning mothers in both corporate and development sectors. The intervention aims to strengthen the existing eco-system and accelerate integration of returning mothers in the workforce and to ensure that maternity and childcare is not a deterrent for women in pursuing their career aspirations.

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More information about GCWL’s initiative on returning mothers can be accessed here.

Interested in the programme? Write to isha.sharma@ashoka.edu.in

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