Advancing women’s participation in the workforce is one of India’s major economic challenges today, which is why both the government and major employers have undertaken to make it easier for women who become mothers or caregivers to remain working or return to work after a career break.
Flexibility, a job attribute increasingly in demand among employees in India (and everywhere else), also happens to be an effective way to help working mothers balance their responsibilities in the office and at home, making it more possible for them to stay in the workforce, combating the infamous “motherhood penalty” of decreased earnings and slower advancement, and hopefully, ultimately helping to close the gender pay gap. At the Atlantic, Sharmilla Ganesan interviews Sairee Chahal, the founder of a digital platform called Sheroes that “aims to connect women seeking flexibility in their careers with companies that are open to the idea”:
Sharmilla Ganesan: How did Sheroes begin?
Sairee Chahal: A few years ago, I had set up a boutique consulting firm. We noticed we got lots of applications from women, highly accomplished ones, despite being a fairly small company that didn’t have many positions to fill.
Then we realized that it was our workplace flexibility that was attracting them. From here, the cognizance grew for me of a disconnect between women and the workplace, particularly as women became older and started balancing family life and work. Despite the fact that in India, women are encouraged to seek out highly qualified professions like medicine or engineering, many of them are unable to continue progressing in their careers once they get married or start families. …