Happy Mother's Day 2023: Here's what organisations can do to support mothers juggling professional and personal life
65% women reportedly feel they'd limited career opportunities following maternity leave. This Mother's Day, here's what organisations can do to support mothers
From excelling at work to taking care of the family, mothers juggle innumerable tasks and while a focus on work-life balance is essential, organisations must have inclusion embedded into their work culture and this Mother's Day is the best time to do so. Organisations need to rise above the flexibility conversation for mothers and really reimagine their policies on flexible working as a recent survey by ‘Careering into Motherhood’ revealed that out of a survey of 2,000 working mothers, 65% felt they had limited career opportunities following a maternity leave and almost half felt that their promotions would be hampered with flexible working.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Joseph Fernandes, Senior Vice President and Head, People and Capability for South Asia at Mastercard, shared, “With diversity, equity and inclusion grounded in broader commitment to empowering people, organisations should strive to create an engaging workplace for women that supports them through various life stages, while providing numerous opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Flexibility is a critical consideration and is essential to ensure the well-being of colleagues. Besides a hybrid work model, employees can opt to work from a different location than their home bases for up to four weeks every year. Additionally, implement weekly flex timings, enabling employees to take time off every week to focus on their learning and well-being.”
He suggested, “Offer industry leading benefits, health covers, financial assistance policies for adoption, surrogacy and fertility treatments and a 16-week leave for new parents (including same-sex or live-in partners and applicable for adoption and foster care). Expecting parents should also get access to a unique program that offers comprehensive support, guidance, doctor consultations, counselling support and more during their ante-natal and post-natal phases. Childcare is also one of the primary reasons why many women choose to take career breaks. Have programs not only focusing on helping talented women re-enter the workforce but also support them through the transition, with training and mentorship opportunities. Strive to create an inclusive and equitable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for everyone!”
Sharad Mehra, CEO, APAC at Global University Systems (GUS), recommended, “Women are the best multi-taskers on the planet but a helping hand is always, good. Provided childcare facilities to female employees to help them focus more on work and remain stress-free. Design initiatives to cater to the employee’s career aspirations, emotional and mental well-being where career coaches, counsellors and other professionals offer a leg up to female employees who are also mothers. In a nutshell, organisations need to devise more empathetic policies and really address the fine balance between what women want and what the organization needs.”
He added, “Creating equity by providing equal access to resources and opportunities depending on their situation, accommodate policies like promotion and evaluation parameters for work-from-home scenarios, set realistic work goals and expectations, workplace mentors are just some examples of change. In a 2018 report, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated, that an average Indian woman worked 44.4 hours per week as compared to developing country average of 35-36 hours. This needs an immediate reset. Flexible working should be about ensuring that your employees are building work around life, not the other way around.”