A research report named “Predicament of Returning Mothers” conducted by Ashoka University’s Genpact Centre for Women Leadership (GCWL) claims that 73% of Indian women leave their jobs on giving birth.
It also suggested that 50% of working women leave their jobs for child care at the age of 30. Among those to return, 48% leave within four months of rejoining the workforce.
This is the first cross-sectional research by GCWL around maternity and careers in the corporate, media and development sectors that attempts to explore the effect of maternity and motherhood on career paths of women.
The research was based on pregnant women, mothers who dropped out of work, and mothers who joined work after maternity but are facing challenges.
We spoke to a few women of the city on their own experiences with work after motherhood…
Only 27% of Indian workforce comprises of women.
Only 16% of senior leadership roles are held by women in India.
While 27% women join the workforce, 48% drop out within four months of returning from maternity leave.
“I left my teaching job even before getting married with a belief that I will rejoin it within a year,” says Tarveen Kaur. “But after a year or so, I was expecting a baby. This led me to postpone my plans of getting into professional teaching.
Since my husband is a marine engineer and is sailing half of the year, I had to take care of my mother-in-law and myself too. After my delivery it was even tougher emotionally to leave my child home and go out.
Hence, I decided to stay back till he is a little older. It has been four years now from the time I got married and left my job.
At times I do feel the pinch, hence, I decided to take home tuitions and study for my Masters in Education, so that I can take care of my child and also complete my further studies and then join a reputed school,” she adds.
The research also stated that child care, elderly care, lack of family support, differentiation at workplace and societal pressures among other factors, are some of the reasons that acts as the exit gate for working woman.
Smita Periwal, now a home maker, says “Of course pregnancy takes a toll on your life, professionally and personally. Only if you are truly enthusiastic and passionate about your work, can you handle all the pressures and return to work.
I was managing the accounting for a corporate company before my marriage. Since it was a love marriage that happened after far too many complications, I made up my mind to adjust when it came to my career.
Although, my husband never forced me, it was totally my decision to stay at home. My in-laws were not open to me working outside of house. However, I gave up on that.
There is no point stressing on a fact that will only create friction at home. If needed, I help my husband with his accounts at home just to pass my time,” adds Smita.
Preferences such as job location, timings, work industry, etc. also have to be taken under consideration, if a woman decides to continue working post-marriage states the report.
“I will soon be getting married, but I am still sceptical of marrying my fiancé, since he is more concerned about his family rules and regulations than my career,” says Puja Kumari.
I am doing the best in my career today but after my marriage, I will have to leave everything. Even if it is for a year, it will affect my career, after all this effort I have put in my job.
My fiancé wants me to quit working for a year, since he wants me to spend time with his family and learn all the traditions and customs.
This is a big dilemma and it is seriously making me think of whether, I should get married, at all, Puja adds.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @KaurKaur18
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