Gender inclusion in the work place seems to be a growing priority for many organisations, including in India, which has seen quite a change in the past 5-10 years.

Shachi Irde, Executive Director of Catalyst tells us, “Right from 2010, we started understanding what the market is all about in India, and we started by understanding the demographics. Our first benchmark study to understand where the challenges are? What is the percentage of women in work force? Do we have the talented women that organisations look for to employ?”

Gender inclusion in the work place seems to be a growing priority for many organisations, including in India, which has seen quite a change in the past 5-10 years

Their findings revealed that there are in fact women who are eligible to join the work force, but it is disheartening to know that companies at that time, in 2010, did not have proper policies in place in terms of inclusion of women.

Shachi says that this is something that has changed five years down the line. Companies no longer are ignorant and in fact, “In our study in 2015, we found that there are a lot of organisations today that have an intention to create impact.”

Anjali Singh, SVP & COOP, Banking and Financial Services, Genpact, told us about the Genpact 2.0 Living, a program created for women who had to take time off work, intending to get back to work after the break. They even had a program for Returning Moms where the organisation arranged for day care services along with 200 creches.

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Companies today need to set an example of gender diversity that can showcase others what is right and what is going wrong at our work places. Most of us are not even aware of the gender bias we all carry subconsciously and therefore putting it out there makes a difference.  Dr. NS Rajan, Chair, Catalyst India Advisory Board, Group Chief HRO, Member of Group Executive Council Tata Sons says, “When we went hiring, we saw women as raw talent and not “women”. If we had lost out on the balance in our organisation, it would be terrible.”

Unfortunately, many women still face a sort of prejudice that presumes post-pregnancy their career goals will change or reduce. Organisations that avoid this sort of prejudice and have more maternity-friendly policies or benefits will naturally prove to be a draw. Neha Bagaria, founder of JobsForHer, says, “Many organisations are hiring these women. You know why this shift is important? Because other women need to know that this is not impossible. We need to celebrate the fact that women go back to work.”