One might say that the odds are against women in the Indian workforce. After observing the facts, it is evident that present-day workplace culture makes it difficult for women to re-enter corporate life after a break. It's a pity and a waste—rational organisations should intensify their diversity goals in acknowledgment of the fact that women provide dependability, intelligence and quality talent. One of the most significant ways in which they can do so is to provide extended maternity leave with benefits along with flexible timings after an employee has returned from maternity leave. This support positively helps women to stay the course of their tenure with the organisation. And from an organisational stand-point, it's also a great way to ensure retention of women employees.
Those that recognise that second-career women tend to have invaluable experience significantly lower training costs...
Supporting women through maternity leave is de rigueur these days, but while mothers play a unique role, having support from a partner is invaluable. It is heartening to see more policies aimed at giving new fathers more time to be involved in their children's lives too. If more fathers could take paternal leave—as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did last year—it would relieve the home and work pressures on women. It would also directly reduce the stigma that women have to bear while taking maternal leave. We are proud to say that we at Dale Carnegie India offer an extended maternity leave as well as paternity leave.
There is a tacit perception about a woman's skills being obsolete once she has been out of work for a period of time, making her "unemployable." Very few employers are progressive enough to see the benefits of employing a woman in such a situation. However, those that recognise that second-career women tend to have invaluable experience significantly lower training costs; they also bring a unique gravitas and maturity to the table. It is also likely that women returning to work will be more loyal employees, and potentially great fits for the organisation. Providing transition support along with mentoring during the early phase of re-entry into the organisation will go a long way in supporting the smooth assimilation of women back into the mainstream.