Authored by Learning Matters and Shruthi Sharma, marketing intern
We’ve all heard these stories – successful women leaving their jobs to take care of their families. Some of us feel anger when we hear these stories, some of us feel pity, some of us ridicule the women in these situations and some of us empathize with them. It is easy to criticize cultural norms that dictate the role of a woman in society; it is also equally easy to understand the need for women to take up conventional roles in the family. Either way, women world-over face an identity crisis. The ones who do not work struggle with questions such as, “Who am I, if not a mother or wife?” The ones who do work are torn in between two worlds. They struggle with questions such as, “Am I a bad mom because I can’t spend more time with the kids?” They often feel selfish for putting their needs first.
These are some of the dilemmas confronting womenfolk. India, among other countries, has been following a patriarchal system for decades. Women in India often have to choose one role over another. Many are expected to stay at home and nurture the family. Companies in India have observed a high dropout rate of 16.4% among female employees every year. Out of all Asian countries, India has the least representation of women in higher management.
But, the future may not be all that bleak. With the Internet enabling a connected world, one does not have to give up one role for the sake of another. Today’s organizations are offering flexible work hours, work-from-home options, and part-time jobs which are enabling people to use their competencies and skills, irrespective of work location, and so-called ‘work hours’. This is revolutionizing the options available for women to work, allowing womenfolk to wear multiple hats and do justice to all their roles.
A McKinsey report discusses how bridging the gender gap can increase India’s GDP by 60%. The report also discusses that it may not be possible to immediately bridge the gap. Their main suggestion to companies is to offer part time job options and flexible work hours. This will encourage qualified women staying at home to join the workforce and contribute.
At Learning Matters, 70% of our workforce is female. Many of them are highly-skilled mothers working part-time. We have some amazing grandmothers in our team who have been teachers, bankers, and working professionals in their younger days. All have unequivocally expressed their happiness and pride at being able to join the workforce again and being able to balance work with young children and other family needs. In short, they are able to be their best, both in their professional and personal lives. We intend only to grow these numbers, as the company grows. At Learning Matters, women matter.
Jonathan Woetzel James Manyika,Richard Dobbs,Anu Madgavkar,Kweilin Ellingrud,Eric Labaye,Sandrine Devillard,Eric Kutcher,Mekala Krishnan . How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth
K Bharat Kumar. ‘Daughterly guilt’ haunts Indian working women. Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/daughterly-guilt-haunts-indian-working-women/article8377880.ece