When a woman becomes a mother, she takes on more responsibilities than what seems humanly possible. With great strength, she brings her child into the world and raises her. But we cannot ignore the toll motherhood can take on a woman, physically and mentally. The stress is heightened when she re-enters her professional life.
What looked like a distant dream a few years ago is now closer than ever with companies adopting a fresh outlook when it comes to hiring working moms.
It’s highly encouraging to see corporate India providing great incentives and modifying their policies to accommodate more mothers in their workforce. Corporations and startups are starting to realise and reap the benefits of hiring mothers for the different perspectives and fresh ideas they bring to the table.
Let’s take a look at some of these companies that are making laudable efforts in this direction.
Accenture has always been a trailblazer in hiring women and enabling them to rise to leadership roles. Their flagship networking program, Vaahini, intends to normalise having more women in the workforce and champions the goals of mothers who want to come back to work. Through this forum, they connect women professionals to discuss ideas, collaborate, network, innovate, and plough ahead as a more empowered group.
They also have a policy in place where working mothers with children under the age of one are permitted to waive off an outstation project. In addition to providing16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, they also encourage a flexible work model and run multiple courses that help working moms learn new industry trends at their own convenience.
With the startup scene growing rapidly in India, more and more companies are coming up with diverse and innovative structures to incorporate working mothers in their organisations.
Oyo provides a maternity leave bandwidth of 26 weeks which is one of the highest in the industry. To ensure ease of working for all mothers, they launched their in-house day care facility and nursery under the title Little O, in 2018. This provision is coupled with the benefit of reimbursed monthly expenses for all working moms who choose to avail the day care facilities. This initiative received widespread acclaim from women across the country and motivated them to join OYO’s growing workforce.
Transparent in their approach, IBM India is one of the leading companies that advocate the many strengths a working mom adds to the corporate culture. The company stands tall in its belief that imbibing more women into the workforce is the only way forward.
With a 14-day fully paid maternity leave policy in place, IBM has gone a step ahead and built lactation centres in their offices. Women are encouraged to work towards polishing their skills at their centre for learning. IBS has tie-ups with leading institutes in India that help women who are restarting their careers acclimatise to the changed work atmosphere.
The company also believes in fostering an environment of growth and adaptability, for which they have a Super Women Group with over 20,000 female members. They connect over video calls, insightful seminars and discussions, and life-coaching sessions to work together towards a more inclusive future.
Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young, popularly known as E&Y, has been topping the Avatar Top 100 Companies for women for the past three years. The company is known for breaking the glass ceiling with conversations, blogs, and forums that focus on carving a better future for their women.
Ernst & Young has, for decades, set the example for welcoming working moms who want to give their career a second shot. Being one of the very first companies in India to create a 26-week paid maternity leave policy, the organisation is a pioneer in providing working mothers with the right resources for professional growth. With their trending hashtags #SheBelongs and #WomenFastForward, E&Y leverages the power of social media to engage more and more people in gender discourse. They also hold regular forums, seminars, and webinars that are directed towards motivating working mothers and encouraging them to set an example for more women around them.
For working mothers, these enabling policies and work structure go a long way in making them feel more welcomed which in turn helps them perform better. These initiatives also assist in nurturing a more holistic ecosystem where people grow and innovate mutually, without any gender bias, and with the objective of moving towards a more inclusive tomorrow.
(Edited by Varsha Roysam)