Child care : No more a barrier for working women.....
Managing family is the main reason why women leave their jobs. The lack of a strong support system forces them to make a choice between their child and work.
Seema Mehta, a mother of two kids work in a multi-national company for the last 12 years. She has successfully managed her work and family. Thanks to maternity leave and other benefits that her company provides.
We have seen that child care is one of the biggest hurdles for working women. Managing family is the main reason why women leave their jobs. The lack of a strong support system forces them to make a choice between their child and work.
Treating employees as people is a continuous process. A female employee having a child is a great example of where there is a need to manage people and not manage staff as just workers. With the objective to achieve its commitment to a 50/50 gender balance, companies are allowing women employees to build career even while raising a family.
Last year, Parliament doubled the extent of paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, empowering women to balance both work and family effectively. Working women in India were welcomed with a maternity bill benefit of half a year, contrary to the long-standing three months leave. According to the Global Gender Report 2018, access to maternity leave reduces the risk of infant mortality and improves breastfeeding rates and duration which has a positive bearing on the child’s physical and mental health. Maternity leaves reduce stress and depression in new mothers. It also does not affects businesses and is indeed beneficial for the economy. It is seen that women workers who have access to maternity leave are more likely to return to the workforce, allowing their firms to not just retain but also attract the best talent. It has also provided women with the opportunity to plan motherhood better. This encourages more women to come back to work after maternity leave.
The California-based software company, Adobe gives new mothers 10 weeks of medical leave followed by 16 weeks of parental leave. Netflix offers 52 weeks paid maternity leave to its employees. It is a reigning paid parental leave king. Tech companies such as Amazon offers moms four weeks of paid leave before giving birth and 10 weeks after, plus an additional six weeks that any new parent. Facebook provides its employees with four months (16 weeks) of paid maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. Facebook, Google, and Apple provide egg-freezing as an employee benefit.The policy is meant to give employees more freedom to pursue family planning according to their own timeline.
It is seen that to be a successful and forward thinking company it is necessary that they provide employees with maternity leaves and other benefits.
Every change comes with challenges, but that cannot be a limitation for the improvement we need. According to a 2017 report by McKinsey Global Institute, women contribute just 22% of India’s GDP compared to the global average of 42%. India can increase its 2025 gross domestic product (GDP), estimated at $6.83 trillion, by between 16% and 60% by simply enabling women to participate in the economy on par with men.
It is a high time that we create gender equality in career growth. Since women have the responsibility of bringing the next generation to this world, it is important to recognise it as a natural phase. Women should be given wings to fly and shine!