The 2022 edition of the Everywoman Global Summit was held recently in November and brought together more than 1,500 delegates, including senior women leaders, rising stars and allies from a broad range of industries across all major continents to share global best practice in gender diversity and inclusion.
Launched in 2021, the online summit enabled corporates to upskill all parts of their business to help them achieve their gender diversity and inclusion goals.
Marya Shakil, Political Editor and senior anchor at CNN-News18, moderated the panel ‘How can leaders make it easier for talented mothers to remain in the workplace’, during the summit’s India Focus days. Marya was joined by Kavita Lahkani, National President, PR & Digital Marketing Council at Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Wendy Naidoo, HR Country Head at Munich Re and Aruna Vaz, Deputy Head – Enterprise Risk Management at Aster DM Healthcare.
Women in India now have six months of maternity leave. However, for many, balancing their household work with their career remains a struggle. The panel explored what organisations can do to support working mothers and what mothers have done to improve the balance in their lives.
Kavitha spoke about her personal experience in her sector that resonates across many industries. “In communications, I was noticing that at entry level there is a 50% representation of women, but then at mid management it drops to 35% and at senior levels it’s a dismal 3%. So, I had to think, why is this and what can we do to change it?"
Wendy offered some key practical advice about how companies can support mothers coming back to work, noting: “Companies need to look at their family friendly benefits and policies. Do you have insurance or period leaves? It’s not just about paid maternity leave, it is elderly support leave, bereavement leave, paternity leave. Even consider having childcare options on site."
Arunda spoke about the state of play for returning mothers and support that could be vital to this underused workforce: “Thanks to the pandemic hybrid working has allowed more mothers to return to work because of the flexibility. But additional efforts need to be made to make sure employees feel connected as it can be easy to feel isolated, especially as a new parent and especially for those without a partner. Companies are noticing that women have their babies later, so they are offering to support them with fertility support. As a company it says we do want you to have a child, we do want you to come back, and we want you to contribute."
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