Seventy-three percent of Indian women leave their jobs on giving birth, a report titled “Predicament of Returning Mothers”, released by Ashoka University, revealed.
According to the study conducted by the Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership, a wing of the University, 50% of working women in the country leave their jobs to take care of their children at the age of 30. Even among those who manage to return, 48 percent drop out within four months of rejoining the workforce.
The report also said that after becoming mothers, only 27 percent of women advance in their careers and continue to be part of the workforce. Of the women who return to employment, a meagre 16 percent advance to hold senior leadership positions.
The report was based on a study conducted on women working in the corporate, media, and development sectors.
“It is a well-documented fact that the Indian workforce is tilted in favour of men and skewed against women. While there are few entry points for women, the exit gates are many – pregnancy, childbirth, child care, elderly care, lack of family support, and unsupportive work environment. These factors create a leaking pipeline that hinders women from reaching leadership positions,” the report read.
If the exit gates remain open, the report said, then the global goal of 50:50 of men and women in workforce by 2030 will be a challenge to achieve.
The study asserted that women have expressed challenges at four levels. At an individual level, most said that they felt guilt. At the level of family, they said that there was a feeling of “compromise”. Another predominant reason women gave was that supervisors felt that they were unproductive and inefficient. Social norms in India that dictated that women should stay at home and take care of their children also play a role.
(Read the full report here.)