Are We Listening To And Doing Well Enough For Our Women?
I have long been intrigued by the question of what can be done to provide support to women juggling several roles – mother, wife, daughter & professionals. One innovative solution that has presented itself is quality day care for children; a place where children are not only taken care of, but, also receive constant guidance about their health, their studies and life skills.
There has been a surge in public discourse on gender equality lately and women’s careers and the gender gap in leadership are getting a lot of attention. Societal sensitization about the girl child’s right to education is taking place and it is becoming more and more acceptable for women to step outside of their homes and find work. Although it may seem that today women are facing lesser or even no challenges on their way to the workplace, a closer look displays another reality. Jobs are getting more and more demanding with tight schedules and strict deadlines and there is little time to focus on anything else other than the work assignments. Working women today are finding it increasingly difficult to devote time to their children due to this increasing workload.
Some women try to manage the office and kids by hiring help but their child’s safety is still constantly on their minds while they are at work. Some take a sabbatical for two to three years until their child is big enough for pre-school but the two year hiatus and loss of work experience does not get looked over by the recruiters when these women return to seek jobs. They seldom get the same positions they were holding before. Some quit working entirely and devote their full time and attention to their kids. However, this too doesn’t prove to be fail-proof. The competitive environment in schools and colleges internalizes in children the notion that they need to have a successful career for a successful life and they are able to relate less with their mothers who are at home.
Day care services are emerging to be a very viable solution to the question of childcare for working parents. However, in the interest of increasing the affordability and accessibility of the day care option, it is essential that there be support provided from corporate and that they come forward to retain the female workforce for long.
While corporations help families meet financial challenges and provide infrastructure it is imperative for families to come forward and support women so they do not carry the guilt of not being present with their kids. It is high time the whole system came forward to take concrete steps towards making the women of India an equal partner in growth. So, Corporations, husbands, parents, parents in law, grandparents….can the working women of India count on your support?