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We need to do more to bring women back to work. Women can contribute a lot more to industry as well as to their own careers.
“India needs more jobs for women to boost growth: World Bank” says the Economics Times. An advertisement in another newspaper boasts of an exclusive job fair for women. Another alarming piece of information I came across is the data provided by a World Bank report which states that only 27% of India’s women are participating in the workforce.
There could be many reasons why women in India do not join the workforce. It may be the lack of education given to girls or age old taboos restricting women to household chores and childcare. There is also a ’not so conspicuous’ but important section of women who also contribute to the figures on the report, the number of women who have dropped out of promising careers after marriage or childbirth.
Unfortunately for us, a woman in India is still expected to cook and do all the household chores, take care of the children, no matter how much and how long she works at office. If a woman still chooses to work, she is expected to do so only if she can do it without compromising on her ‘core’ roles.
Many a times, the jobs in offices are equally demanding with working hours that sometimes stretch way beyond the official working hours. This is causing a significant part of the woman workforce to opt out of the jobs or if they continue, they struggle to do so, sometimes compromising on their health.
Another reason that stands out is the ‘guilt’ experienced by the women themselves who feel that opting for a career makes them compromise on their primary role. In many cases women themselves take ownership of home making and childcare and opt out of workplaces because they can’t manage both without risking their health.
Many IT sectors provide work from home solutions but these too sometimes spill over into family time. Most often children don’t get much time with parents as a result of hectic schedules. If I just look around me, among friends, relatives and neighbors I can count at least fifteen people who have quit jobs to take care of home and kids. I recently came across an article by Chethan Bhagat which is a note to women in India who feel the most stressed out according to a survey.
The need of the hour is to conduct surveys and talk to women who have opted out and those are continuing with a struggle and come up with steps to create work profiles designed especially for Indian women which can help them cater to family and work at the same time. This is a huge challenge but can be given a try.
“A half day half pay” scheme or roles that have fixed and friendly work hours, in house day care facilities can be experimented to motivate women who can undoubtedly make significant contributions to the workforce.
Top image via Pixabay