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How crèches in offices can help accelerate women’s career growth

– Prajodh Rajan, co-founder and group CEO, EuroKids.

India is a country where population growth is rapid and constant. The population is huge, ever-expanding, and so is the size of the country’s workforce. But working in an era where one also has to take care of their children can be quite a challenge. According to research, in 3 out 4 double-income nuclear families, the working mother has to quit her job in order to take care of her child, which results in an employment gap in her career often leading to scarcity of available jobs. 

Women make up 24 percent of India’s workforce. But only 5 percent reach the top rungs, compared to the global average of 20 percent. A majority of them give up their jobs or fall behind on performance during their ‘start a family’ period in life. Among the several factors that contribute to this imbalance, a major one is the sheer absence of daycare at the workplace keeping millions of working women from working.

A noticeable trend in Asian countries is that if the mother works, the grandparents and other non-working family members fulfill the need for childcare – they take over the job of childcare when the mother is at work. This very important benefit (of readily available child support from the family members themselves) in joint families not only recognises that the working mother is an important member of the family, but also provides her the necessary support to be able to perform her dual role efficiently.

Providing daycare at the workplace can have many benefits for companies, including improving employee morale, lowering turnover and attracting a wider variety of applicants. Although providing workplace daycare can be expensive, many companies find that it actually saves money in decreasing employee absenteeism and turnover. Ministry of Labour and Employment has clarified that companies with 50 or more employees should provide creche facilities to their employees for children under 6 years of age.

After all, the modern Indian family has the woman donning multiple roles of wife, mother and business executive. Each of these roles demands her very best. And because of her changing role, there is an increasing need for a support system other than family to help balance home and work. No longer is it a social stigma if the woman looks at child-care options to look after her child while she works. This is indicated by the growing number of daycare centres, nurseries and preschools in India’s largest cities.

In today’s cosmopolitan world of double-income nuclear families, there is a growing need to find a school in whose care their child can be entrusted due to which the concept of daycare came into being. These daycare centres are meant for children aged 6 to 17 months, i.e. children below the preschool age. These centres, that follow a structured routine, are equipped with exceptional learning methodologies and age-appropriate playing facilities for children. In these centres, children are engaged in various kinds of activities such as singing and painting. The well trained staff offer individual attention to children that helps them later in their emotional and physical growth.

According to the Preschool or Child Care Market in India 2016-2020 Report, preschool or child care services accounts for 1.6 per cent of entire education market of India and is expected to make up more than 2 percent of India’s education sector by 2020.

So let’s work towards putting women back into the country’s workforce after delivering a baby and while taking care of the growing child through an initiative of corporates providing daycare facilities to women. Afterall, the Government of India mandates all companies with more than 50 women employees to provide daycare facilities to them.

Also read: Emerging trends in India’s ECCE landscape

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