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, the Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership (GCWL) has created an end to end platform that aims to address the re-entry barriers for returning mothers across sectors. To create this platform, it was imperative that the Breakthrough programme truly understands the re-entry barriers faced by mothers and the 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 childbirth, 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 findings of the qualitative study were presented in the report, Predicament of Returning Mothers. 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 insights from the research study led to the creation of a training platform that is helping women manage the complex network of individual, family, social, and workplace factors that force women to leave the workforce post pregnancy and childbirth. 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 are not deterrents for women in pursuing their career aspirations.

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

Interested in the Breakthrough programme? Write to gcwl.breakthrough@ashoka.edu.in

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