Survey finds the main professional return challenges for Indian women

CHENNAI: India has more than seven million second races woman who are looking for a career return . But is it easy or difficult for them to join the workforce?

A new report by Avtar, a Chennai-based company that focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, discusses the second professional career of professional women - The history of India through its annual research for this Year - VIEWPORT 2019.

The Viewport 2019 poll , which was conducted among 783 second career woman from various industry sectors in the country with an average work experience of 9.5 years and an average 4.4-year career break, reveals that motherhood challenges (45%) and maternity (35%) are the most common reasons for woman to take a break from their careers.

The poll also found that elder care responsibility (16%) is another critical reason for woman in the country to take a career break.

“India is a land of 1.3 billion people – 48.5% of the country is woman . However, India is at the 108th position in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2018,”says Saundarya Rajesh, founder-president of AVTAR Group.

“In the Indian socio-cultural milieu, societal expectation on woman catering to the responsibilities of 3Cs (cooking, cleaning and caring) is disproportionately high. That the gender chore gap, (a woman-man per day figure on time spent in cooking, cleaning and caring) at 333 minutes, is one amongst the highest in the world, does not come as a surprise. A decline in the woman ’s workforce participation rate in the country (from 36 percent to 24 percent in the past decade), statistically testifies this gender role stereotyping,” she adds.

When it comes to career return challenges, a fifth of the woman said it was insufficient support at home. Another finding from the poll shows that majority of respondents (69%) anticipate a pay cut on their career re-entry due to the prevalence of motherhood wage penalty (how mothers suffer severe wage and hiring disadvantages in the workplace).

Financial security was the motivating factor for woman to make career return s, with nearly 40% citing it as the reason.

“As an early evangelist and a second career woman myself, it is heartening to see the momentum build in the second career movement. We have been seeing how companies are benefiting by recruiting these second career woman in our annual Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) study, which we launched in association with Working Mother to identify and celebrate the best practices followed by companies for increasing woman ’s workforce participation in country,” says Saundarya.