The pandemic might not be over yet, but with COVID-19 cases showing a steep decline, the world is opening up again. Shops, schools, markets, theatres are all going back to their pre-COVID schedule, so are workplaces. But this back-to-work phase isn’t going to be easy on moms.
These past two years, most working moms have worn themselves out, juggling the larger portion of household and childcare duties, along with their jobs. As workplaces open up and new opportunities come their way, numerous women will be looking forward to upgrading their profile and taking up new challenges that’ll put them on a track to secure higher management roles in the future.
The share of women in senior management stood at 39 percent, as per a 2021 report, and while it is a good eight percent above the global average, it is far from being equal to that of men. Besides, the post-pandemic challenges women are facing threaten to bring this number down, re-erecting numerous barriers women have crossed over decades to get here. The only way to push this number up is to ensure that women have a support system in place which helps them have an easy transition from COVID-work norms to post-COVID work culture.
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Increased participation of women in leadership and the labour force will be good not only for us as a society, but for the Indian economy too. A report by the World Bank suggests that doubling the percentage of women in the workforce would boost India’s growth rate from 7.5 to nine percent and raise the country’s GDP to US$700 billion by 2025 If only the burden of childcare could be taken off women’s shoulders, enabling them to focus on their careers better. However, many organisations are now focussing on providing childcare services to women, that too based on their convenience.
Preschools and daycare provider KLAY promises to help organisations build family-friendly workplaces, and gives flexible services that accommodate the varying needs of working moms. With 95 percent women in its workforce, the organisation emphasises on curriculum and content which promotes gender equality in children from their early years. It also has near home and near work centres and nanny and edukarer at-home programs that give working moms and dads many options to choose from, based on their convenience and requirements.
Laxmi Bolar Bhatt, an independent artist and a parent who avails the organisation’s services, says, “The pandemic left a lot of parents worried and anxious for our little ones, although KLAY as a team really led the way. As a parent, I was able to hold a routine for Varenya, my daughter, and also watch her adapt to the new normal effortlessly. KLAY ensured that she experienced every bit of her school journey even with their online schooling format and enjoyed, with having loads to do after that. Due to this, her eventual transition to offline school has been seamless. On her first day, seeing her teacher was her biggest happiness.
I can’t thank KLAY enough for being the wonderful guide that it has been so far. I truly need to mention teacher Shraddha who is extraordinary at her work, because when your child’s teacher looks at your child the way you would, it’s certain that your kids are in great hands.”
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Talking about the burden on women today, the need for women to return to the workplace and how the organisation is facilitating the process, KLAY’s CEO AK Srikanth says, “It has been an honour to head KLAY Preschools and Daycare which is one of the leaders in the Early Childhood Care and Education sector in India. While the pandemic has been an eye-opener for all of us, we have seen its effects on families and especially on women who juggled to manage their daily chores, work and children. KLAY is a proud partner of 40,000+ families where the mother or father has gone back to work after having a child with the assurance that their child is the loving care of expert caregivers and educators and is receiving the age-appropriate development inputs in their critical foundational years. KLAY is also the preferred childcare partner for more than 450 organizations enabling them to create family-friendly workplaces. We stand for closing the gender gap, with both genders having equal opportunities to perform their duties at home and at work.”
Providing women with flexible childcare services will encourage more women to come back to work after their maternity break. This will not only help corporates retain talented employees, but also provide a stress-free working environment, that also emulates a sense of care coming from the employer. The chances of retaining a workforce are higher at any organisation where an employee feels cared for. Besides, corporate stakeholders are now open to flexing their childcare policies thus creating a hybrid work culture where employees have a better shot at striking a work-life balance. Now seems to be the perfect time for career-oriented moms to return to the workplace.
This article has been posted in partnership with KLAY schools.