Work-family balance of Indian women


Abstract One of the significant changes witnessed in the labour markets in India has been the entry of women IT professionals in the rap software services sector. As the women take on the role of working professional in addition to their traditional role of the home are under great pressure to balance their work and personal lives. This study attempts to understand how work and family relat influence the work- family balance of Indian women IT professionals. The study is based on an exploratory qualitative study o IT professionals in the software sector in Bangalore, India. The narratives reveal six major themes: familial influences on life c multi-role responsibilities and attempts to negotiate them; self and professional identity; work-life challenges and coping strate sational policies and practices; and social support. 0 2010 Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. All rights reserved. Introduction

Work and family are the two most important domains in a person's life and their interface has been the object of study for resea world-wide. There is a felt need to balance and integrate family needs and career requirements (Sturges & Guest, 2004) and res field of work-family interface has increased dramatically in the past two decades (Frone, Yardley, & Markel, 1997). The changing soci arising out of dual career couples, single parent families, an increasing number of parents with dependent care responsibilities and ageing parents have all contributed to increasing research in the area of work life balance. There is a glaring under represen samples from developing economies in the research literature on work and family. Increased globalisation coupled with the rec balancing work and family is a challenge for employed parents in almost all modern societies, suggests that a chapter of this re should be conducted in different cultural contexts (Ayree, Srinivas, & Tan, 2005). In a transitioning society like India, where the traditional roles of women as homemakers and caretakers are deeply entrenched family balance becomes a challenge ict women and their employers. Over the last decade, Indian society has witnessed a surge participation of women in the workforce, especially in the software industry. The growing number of women in the Indian IT w led to an increasing interest from academia and practitioners in the topic of work-life balance, specifically of working women i industry. In the light of the increasing number of women in the IT industry, there is a need to examine the phenomenon of the w balance of Indian women IT professionals in greater depth. The main research question of this study is: How do work and family related factors influence the work-family balance of In IT professionals? What challenges do they face and what coping strategies do they use to achieve work-family balance? The paper is structured in three parts. The first part looks at the literature on work-life balance and the phenomenon of Indian professionals in the IT industry. The second part explores the life histories, work-life issues, and choices of 13 women captured depth semi-structured interviews. The final part discusses the emerging themes from the narratives in the light of the literature family balance and draws conclusions on how working women software professionals in India manage their lives. Women professionals and the work family balance: literature review

The work-family balance has been conceptualised as an individual's orientation across different life roles, an inter-role phenom Et MacDermid, 1996), 'satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home with a minimum of role conflict' (Campbell-Cla 349), and 'a satisfying, healthy and productive life that includes work, play and love, that integrates a range of life activities wi to self and to personal and spiritual development, and that expresses a person's unique wishes, interests, and values' (Kofodimo p.xiii; Shaffer, Francesco, Joplin & Lau, 2003). Traditionally, research on the work-family interface has been dominated by a c perspective focusing on negative effects such as stress (Greenhaus & Parasuraman, 1999; Haas, 1999). To correct the bias of the dominating focus on the negative outcomes of the work-family interface, a growing body of resear focusing on how work and family can benefit each other (Lauring & Selmer, 2010). Among the several proposed theoretical co include positive spillover (Demerouti, Geurts, & Kompier, 2004), enhancement and enrichment (Greenhaus & Powell, 2006), a facilitation (Wayne, Grzywacz, Carlson, & Kacmar, 2007). The facilitation takes place when the gains obtained in one domain transferred to and enhance the functioning in the other domain. One way a person can be facilitated in the work domain The role of social support has consistently emerged in literature as an important factor that influences work-family balance i manner. Social support outside of work labelled by Marcinkus, Whelan-Berry, and Gordon (2007) as personal social support m from an employee's spouse or partner, parents, siblings, children, extended family, and friends. Numerous studies have demons personal social support is positively associated with the work-family balance. Of particular importance is support from the hus contributes in a variety of areas including earnings and personal financial management (Kate, 1998), home and family responsi (Baron, 1987), career management and support (Gordon & Whelan-Berry, 2004; Hertz, 1999), and interpersonal support (Beck 1999). Family support also includes the exchange of support among relatives (Voydanoff is by support in the home and work d 2002). The personal social support can be further conceptualised as emotional and instrumental support (Wayne, Randel, & Stevens Instrumental support refers to behaviours and attitudes of family members aimed at assisting day-today household activities, su relieving the employee of household tasks or otherwise accommodating the employee's work requirements (King, 1997). This

Work-family balance of Indian women


family member to focus his/her time and preserve energy for work when it might otherwise be scarce; suggesting that it positiv influences the individual's functioning at work. Emotional support refers to the expression of feelings to enhance others' affect (Erickson, 1993). Emotional support contributes to positive affect that helps the individual in the work domain (Wayne et al., 2 The role of workplace support, i.e., the support received from supervisors and co-workers (Voydanoff, 2002)] is another crit of work-family balance. Ezra and Deckman (1996) found that organisational and supervisor understanding of family duties are related to satisfaction with the balance between work and family life. Workplace support via an organisational approach involv implementation of family friendly policies, which are associated with satisfaction with the work family balance (Ezra & Deckm Organisations offer a wide range of work-family benefits and programmes to their employees, such as job sharing, telecommut protected parental leave, part-time return to work options, flexitime, resource and referral services, unpaid family leave, depend assistance, shorter standard work weeks, improvement in job conditions, on-site childcare, support groups for working parents, facilities, day-care facilities, laundry facilities, and canteen facilities (Lobel & Kossek, 1996; Rajadhyaksha & Smita, 2004). R shows that flexible work arrangements allow individuals to integrate work and family responsibilities in time and space and are instrumental in achieving a healthy work and family balance (Bond, Galinsky, Lord, Staines, Brown, 1998; Galinsky, Bond, & 1993). While much of the literature review presented above could be gender neutral, literature recognises that all of the above ment variables have a greater impact on women at work. Webster (2002) points out that family structures and female roles vary acro but overall, women continue to be the primary provider for domestic and childcare responsibilities. The presence of large numb women in the workforce and their drive for careers has resulted in increasing attention to work family balance issues. Literatur software workers clearly demonstrates that women experience a sense of empowerment from their work (Fuller & Narasimhan Software professionals are known to derive their identity from their occupation (Deetz, 1995). Many women value their career development as central concepts of their identity (King, 1997; Shaffer, Francesco, Joplin, & Lau, 2003). However, evidence fro and the UK does not appear promising. In a survey on industry. The growing number of women in the Indian IT workforce has increasing interest from academia and practitioners in the topic of work-life balance, specifically of working women in the IT i the light of the increasing number of women in the IT industry, there is a need to examine the phenomenon of the work-life bal Indian women IT professionals in greater depth. The main research question of this study is: How do work and family related factors influence the work- family balance of In IT professionals? What challenges do they face and what coping strategies do they use to achieve work-family balance? The paper is structured in three parts. The first part looks at the literature on work-life balance and the phenomenon of Indian professionals in the IT industry. The second part explores the life histories, work-life issues, and choices of 13 women captured depth semi-structured interviews. The final part discusses the emerging themes from the narratives in the light of the literature family balance and draws conclusions on how working women software professionals in India manage their lives. Nature of the software services sector and its impact on the work-life balance: a study

One of the significant changes witnessed in the labour markets in India in the last decade has been the entry of women professi percentages of females in regular employment in urban India, increased from 25.8% in 1983 to 33.3% in 2000 and the labour f participation rates is projected to reach 361 per 1000 females in the year 2026 (McNay, Unni, & Cassen, 2004). In the organise women workers constituted 18.4% as on March 31, 2003, of which about 49.68 lakh (4.96 million) women were employed in t and private sectors (The Financial Express, 2006). In fact, the largest numbers of women employees are in the IT/ITES sector ( 2008). The 'phenomenon of Indian Women IT professionals' is the term used to describe the enormous rise of women in the IT industry (The Indian programmer, 2000). Women accounted for 26.4% of the total India-based workforce in the IT industry in from 24% in 2005 and women comprise 25% of the employee strength of the major Indian IT companies (Ali, 2006). Women's participation in the IT workforce is seen as a critical enabling factor for the continued growth of the industry (The Economic T The characteristics of the software services industry in India and the nature of the work pose some unique challenges for profes the industry. The challenges are aggravated in the case of women professionals. The software industry in India is characterised oriented organisation and as the industry has matured, more complex and strategic projects have been outsourced to India (Ethi Krishnan. & Singh, 2005). Software professionals are faced with an environment of uncertainty and instability with consequen work longer hours (Scholarios & Marks, 2004). This pressure is a result of two factors. First, the time differences with the Wes Europe, necessitate employees to work at night in India. Furthermore, the concept of a 24-h knowledge factory —the evolution help desk support— requires software engineers to conduct team meetings and virtual work sessions, where team members nee temporal flexibility, a more fluid approach to time—whether holding conference calls outside the traditional 8 to 6 workday or a software project in shifts (Teagarden, Meyer & Jones, 2008). Second is the project-based work with unpredictable workloads requirement to deliver projects consistently within the stipulated time and without critical bugs (Mathew, 2007), often involvin travel. The project orientation of the industry with rapid technology changes that make skills quickly obsolete requires softwar professionals to frequently re-skill. Consequently, software professionals need to put in extra training and educational hours to these changes (Armstrong, Riemenschneider, Allen & Reid, 2007). Women who aspire to play a bigger role in technology need to maintain a consistently high learning curve. With the constant in happening in this arena, it is not enough to be a good worker in the IT industry; one must keep updating technological skills. N

her family and society is bei the new and expanded role of women with a strong occupational identity is putting a lot of pressure on women's time and energ balance was one of the commonly cited challenges of IT work in a study on women in IT (Adya. definition of their roles a relationships with the family. noting of p themes. four women with one child. Women were enco illustrate the manner in which they arrived at decisions or the manner in which they coped with conflicts and challenges throug examples. Women were identified for interviews through the p and personal network of the second author and their participation was voluntary. multi-role responsibilities and attempts to negotiate them. However. Three women were two children. Long working hours. The nature of the industry and the fact that women software p are in the crucial phase in their lives. or fulfilling dreams of a mother wh . 2006). the organisational and personal support received. To draw meaning from the data. A semi-structured interview protocol was used. Since this was an exploratory study. Extensive handwritten notes were taken. there are no other studies in the context of the Indian software industry. 1994). categ dimensions that emerged from these interviews. Three of the respondents had children who were in middle school while the others had children in primary sch Appendix 1 provides an overview of the women's demographic profile. It is evident that the nature of the sector and the changing aspirations and roles of women in Indian society create challenges fo family balance. 23-38 years. which covered the following topics: educational. where a woman's role in relation to herself. Women described their decisions to embark on their careers. They also shared their dreams and their aspirations about where they saw themselves in the fu They were frequently asked additional follow-up questions to clarify their feelings and their points of view towards the issues a The clarifications for conflicting or unclear answers were sought either during the interviews or afterwards via informal email and telephone conversations. Rajalakshmi. 2008). 1998) was used to locate information-rich key respondents and care was taken to ensur sample represented women with varying marital status and parental status. themes. confirmatory tactics. The coding procedures of Grounded Theory (Strauss & Corbin.Work-family balance of Indian women 3 industry sees such significant changes in technology from time to time (Ali. 1998) were followed which resulted in iden themes from the narratives that are presented in the section on findings. and social support. expectations at work and experiences of success and failure. the researchers used inductive analysis to identify categories. it must be recognised that in Indian society. which attempt to c unique dimensions of women's participation in work and their experiences in managing life and work. three were single women. the life changes they experienced and the decision that make along their career journey. where women are drawn into marriage and motherhood. Familial influence refe extent to which the immediate family plays a role in creating the values and meaning around work and life for the women. Methodology Since. it can be concluded that well educated. organisational policies and practices. Despite the fact that divorces and single motherhood ar emerging trends in urban Indian society. and aspirations and dreams. Nine of the respondents were managers and had about seven to nine people reporting to them. Familial influence on life choices The familial influence appeared as a significant factor in life choices on work and family for all women. career development. 1994). which this study puts under further scrutiny. to the best of our knowledge. document and analyse that influence the work-family balance of women software professionals in India and also to understand the support they receiv their personal and professional lives. 2003). making decisions related to admissio engineering colleges. The sample included 13 women who were dra various life stages from the software industry. The familial influence ranged from setting goals for an engineering education from childhood. such as comparison/contrast. wor family background. each of the themes is elaborated upon. a range of tactics was used. two married with no children. following up surprises. which were transcribed at the earliest possible time afte interviews. highly skilled women software professionals in India have entered a rapid and very demanding sector in which they want to pursue careers. and one woman was engage married. Table 1 illustrates the themes. Eight of the women worked for multinational corporations and the remaining wo Indian companies. The remaining were tec domain experts. and checking results with respondents (Mile Huberman. Findings of the exploratory study Six broad themes emerged from the analysisof the interviews which are relevant to the understanding of work-family balance o professionals in India: familial influences on life choices. self-identi challenges and coping strategies. Judgment sampling (Strauss Et Corbin. The present study was designed to explore. In summary. The time required for professional developm have to come out of the personal time of the employees. or relocating from a village to a city to get access to better education. and patterns that em the data (Janesick. puts increasing pres maintaining a work-life balance (Perrons. we felt that an explorato such as ours was needed. the mothers in our sample represent the majority of Indian women who have children marriage and who are still married. 2003. use of metaphors. unpredictable workloads and the constant pressu updating skills all have a strong impact on the work-family balance of software professionals. All the women in the sample were engineers with an average experience of eight years. clustering.

' (Ta) Support was found for Castells's (1997) statement playing new roles such as students with the aim of climbing the corporate la focusing more on the home maker-role by taking up a part-time job. There is hardly an option. the a infirm and the destitute all depend on their immediate families and relatives to care for them (Roy. where to live. 'Joint family' refers to a social unit with two or three generations paternally related males and their dependents who share a common residence. and reinterpreting our life stories through the lens of the emerging possibilities (making sense). drive to explore. When trying you will not have success. Although the women had high career ambitions they also felt a high responsibility towards the family members. and the role of dependent care which is specific to the Indian context. Family members reside with them either on a perman temporary basis.' (Sa. 2003). This also helped them in achieving balance in life. 2002). Women described feelings of challenge. The sick. They the women to aspire for a career in engineering. completely defined. how many have and how to care for one's children. while most of the married women lived with their parents-in.Work-family balance of Indian women 4 could not aspire to become a professional during her youth.' For some women professionals their identities changed in practice as they started building. The narratives revealed that the women's career role models were predominan explanation for the absence of women as role models is that women acquiring technical qualifications in large numbers are a re phenomenon. Work life balance challenges and strategies The nature of the IT industry emerged as a general category within the theme of the work-family balance challenges. not permitting the grandparents to interfere.that work outside the home opened women's worlds. Self-identity Self-identity or self concept (Hall. Ma respondents have parents or parents-in-law who depend on them for care. 2002) derived from work was momentous throughout the stories of the women IT profession women placed the work role high in the hierarchy of role identities. Both the respondents mentioned below are women careers actively but their view on the role of the family exemplifies the spirit 'Family will always come first at any point of time. but also provided them with a feeling of contentment in fulfilling their duties. career and family woman) 'If the need arises then family comes first.' (Lk. Having worked teaches you to cope with frustration. property.' 'My identity is at who could strong influence on the decision-making process in life. The following statements support place of work in the role-identity hierarchy: 'I am a work-centered person. p that 'identities change in practice. to solve problems.' (Sa) 'Work gives you a lot of independence in your thoughts and in the way you handle things and look at things. a family is dependent. eating facilities. There were two aspects to the role conflict: the traditional element of time balance—equal time work and family (Parasuraman & Greenhaus. Ibarra (2004. These women live in so-called joint families. most of the women made the decisions on how to live their lives.' (Sr) 'I have learnt to be tactful. brothers. with the m women emphasising that the projects with tight deadlines. as we start doing new things (crafting experiments). and to find a way to approach problems by the day-to-day situations. For example. key decisions affect course of events for the individual over the whole lifespan: decisions about when and whom to marry. and broadened their socia and their experience. This indicates that the hierarchy of role identities can change throughout the course of life. growth as a person. Organisations can go on without you. and more important. Despite being under family and even societal influences. and personal satisfaction de work to define their identity. satisfaction of using skills. accomplishm boost. Sitting at ho not have exposed me to this. It became apparent from the interviews that women saw th careers as a prime element in their self-identity. to be assertive. Women were fulfilli roles which sometimes added strain. the narratives clarified that the women and their husbands decided chil and childcare. Since my dad fought two wars. you are not satisfying both. Many of the women in our sample are first generation women entering the labour workforce in professional jobs Role responsibilities and fulfilment What emerged from the conversations with the women respondents is the aggravation and accentuation of the role conflict in th the software services industry. affected the . In line with a strong sense of family obligation in extended families was expressed in the stories of the women as they felt that family was important than a career. fathers or uncles. career and family woman) Giddens (1997) points out that kinship relations helped determine. or engaging in community service. interacting with different people (shiftin connections). My mother became a home maker after marriage an "you could not be anybody when your husband has a transferable job". my mother emphasis importance of financial independence for all of us (two daughters). and in many cases. As one respondent said: 'My father was in the army and he would be posted all over the country. drive for self-development. extensive travelling and long and/or oddworking hours.' All the women had very strong male role models. who were engineers/technical professionals.

The statement below shows how a wom prioritised her career interests at work: 'The most important thing is prioritising. other adverse psycho-physiological consequences that can affect the quality of home and family life (White. because my eyes start hurting after having computer system all day. but I cannot do that for too long. 15) calls 'reinvention': reconsidering not only the kind of work one wants to tne kind of person one wants to be and the sacrifices one is prepared to make to grow into that new self. I would have taken a different route. However interviews also raised important questions about their definitions of success both at work and at home. I may not want to be in the technical field all my life. I feel that I am not bogged down with work. This is consistent with the findings from Teagarden et al. personal self-management was also a challenge. This meant working until the next day with or working on weekends. 2003). It is a conscious choice not to be married. and MacDermid (2001) that for a w feeling more balance may mean adding more of certain activities that she already does. This made life very hectic and had its impact on the work-family balance: I started dumping hou on my husband and was not taking care of my share of work. Some people have more stamina. It is the disadvantage of this job but in most IT firms you would have t working hours.00 pm I have to log in for 1 to 1 Yi hours for meetings with This leaves me with less spare time during the week. The balance has worked out fine.' (Ra) Another interviewee had gone through the process of reinvention. I would like to write papers. submit arti spend time on writing poetry. 'We consciously make a decision as to what has priority. The key issue is how much time y willing to spend. It will evolve. The narratives from the women clearly support this finding. but I do not rule out getting married in the f single status is not due to inability to make commitments. Capacity itself is limitation. An IT job is not 9 to 5. M Smeaton. McGovern. which appeared to be a strategy to achieve the work--family balance. This is out of convenience. My take on it is th feel the difference in the kid.'(Sa) It is interesting to note that these three women respondents hold flexible work hours in their respective organisations. On a day-today basis but also on the longer term. He asked me: "Are you sure you want to do this?" My friends and relatives said: "Is she nuts!" For me it was clear t daughter was top priority. Her main drive to change jobs was to be ab different things. self-awareness. or adding things that she is not yet doin counterbalance the other things she does. I am in the process of articulating a vision.Work-family balance of Indian women 5 balance. she had achieved the 'top ranked performer' status but she chose to leave.' (Js) Additional working hours were at the expense of home time. which enabled her to achieve her desired balance: At her for company. are more driven. This evolved primarily around commitments and personal self-management. personal vision and then see how to align that to my personal context. while high work intensity or work pressure may result in fatigue. but that is my choice. but I would like to go back to what I was earlier a peak job would have been difficult. it was not forced'. but now I can work these hou not helping my career aspirations. I am able things at work. Women also had their strategies to cope with the challenges to achieve the work-family balance. contribute to a social cause. Interestingly. Johnson. Her job allowed he a certain extent and beyond that she aspires to start a small social organisation with her husband that aims at literacy.' (Ra) 'In my spare time I like to watch TV or a movie. particularly for single They appeared to be more challenged to achieve the work-family balance. You have to have an idea of you are capable of doing. She had always wanted to do something beyond management. An emerging category was personal self-management. This will great personal satisfaction.6 workday or fast-tracking a software project in shifts. This is outlined by a single woman from our sample 'I am single and this just so happened. a plateau. because I had worked. My husband was surprised. This resulted in satisfaction of staying (Mj) 'My daughter fell sick so I decided that I did not want to work and I took a break. I developed Repetitive Strain Injuries.'(Sh)) Other women clearly prioritised their families over work and accepted that they would have to put their career aspirations on h strategies enabled the women to achieve their desired work-family balance. to develop and use my strengths.' (Lk) 'My job required travelling. It was a conscious decision. It is sometimes hard to cope when at 10. in the short term and the long term. To work-family balance requires what Ibarra (2004. p. I want to find out what my calling in life is. Now I just do the job-well and the rest is family time. Huston. Hill. The choice for a partner would be based on his support for my car . Some excerpts: 'In the past there were incidences where I would work until I got the release out. I feel it is important to stay at home. The process of reinven achieve balance is captured by one interviewee: 'I would like to pursue hobbies and contribute to the industry apart from work alone. had severe pain and I suffered quite a bit.'s (2008) study that identified holding conference calls outsid traditional 8. The statements below show how and why women p family over work. (Js) 'Now my career phase is a plain thing. This case supported the suggestion of Marks. ! want clarity. My presence at home had a good impact on the family. If I was very ambitious and wanted to be the best within a company would not have chosen this path. One of the coping mechanisms used by the women IT professionals was to priori commitments within the work and family domains.

leave of absence policy. There are a few hiccups when I have to take care of my to ask my husband to take care of my kid. This applies particularly to women project managers in the IT industry (H Krishna. the type of position. but I keep it restricted to the workplace. Can there be a perso without a family?' (An) Even though the existence of work-family friendly policies can facilitate the work-family balance. You have to do night shifts. My li well-balanced. A typical source of support in the Indian culture that is widely used is domestic help. or home responsibilities that Indian women have. This confirms Roy's (2003) finding that home is becoming an area of participation partners. p. Despite the existence of work-family women-friendly policies some of the women were sceptical about the keenness and willin organisations to incorporate these policies and programmes. it remain challenge to achieve balance in life. Otherwise I would have been hesitant in l child. Women IT professionals mentioned that their hu care of the children when they had to attend conference calls at home or when they reached home late from the office.' (Sr) Social support This theme consisted of two categories namely spousal/ family support and supervisor/co-worker support. Organisation policies and practices Women reported the existence of work-family friendly policies and programmes that facilitated work-family balance: flexitime home policy. then it becomes difficult. Husband support their wives in the household chores.' (Ma) Many of these policies appear to be enabling for working mothers. I am not able to pursue other interests. there are discussions. Even though this woman IT professional was conscious of the encroachment of work on her personal life. time zones become a key thing in managing the work. losing other sources of perspective in life'. Interestingly. make dinner at home and then attend meetings later in the evening. My mother-in law stays at our house and takes care of my children. For exampl flexible working hour policies weren't of benefit to all women: 'You stay in the office or work from home. household activities or to purs studies. as expressed by one of the women: There is an attitude towards women-friendly policies in India. facilitated the work life balance. maternity leave. The second way to provide support is domestic and childcare support. 2000. 2001). these policies do not necess facilitate it sufficiently for the type of work. The interviews revealed two distinct ways in which husba support: the first one is the moral support for the woman's career and study pursuits. particularly women with smaller chil difficult for women with a rigorous rhythm of work. She moved in after my father-in law died so suppo . Co encroachment of work on personal life is a pressing concern for most professionals seeking change. I can leave the office at 6pm.' (Rs) These work-family friendly policies enabled women to attend to dependent care responsibilities. In addition.' (Sh) This woman has become what Ibarra (2004. Women had their children or help from their mothers-in-law who stay in their homes and take care of the children. I would see myself as a mother. 86) calls 'overcommitted to work. where women are actively involved in paid work. Work-family is highlighted in the following statement: 'Previously the work was done without Internet connectivity. This leads to a lack of balance. they are eager for their wives to work. When being single you do not have a family. the company has given a cable modem. This is a perception thing. whether or not they are con at the start. This causes a lot of stress in time management. Conference calls with the California people are in the night. childcare facilities and sabbatical. which. Therefore there are flexi-hours. it becomes a little difficult to man decide which calls are really important. 'I do not want to leave my children with strangers so I leave them with my family. women have domestic help fr cooks and maids that reduced their time spent on household tasks. Evidence for the rigorous rhythms of work in th industry and its affect on work-family balance is provided by one of the women: 'Taiwan to California. Nicholson. one month leave a year. these are helpful when you are 'an individual con when you are a manager.' ( Roy (2003) notes those flexible working hours are a great advahtage for married women. and people are not aware of what is personal. team meetings where (your) presence is required. & Sahay. Support from the hu crucial in being able to balance work and family as our study found. Policies and programmes that are specifically aimed at enabling women to combine work and personal lives are also la work-family friendly policies. International Labour Organization. Now. as one respondent mentioned 'Being single means that managers expect you to come to work and they take you for granted. and it is important that we have good interactio people. There is a favourable trend towards women in employment ov decade. in turn. tr extensively. I spend more time at work th like to.Work-family balance of Indian women 6 attention would focus on having a family at some point in life. the stories reveal that husban only support their wives. which means I c work at home. In this way contributed to improving my work-family balance. just to show that the company facil women's needs.

The support networks is seen as enabling in many ways. A number of women mentioned that they were not able to pursue pers interests due to the commitments of work and family that were imposed on them. the shaping of women's self-identity was a learnin throughout the 'crucial phase' in women's lives. struggled with their identities and role priorit managed to shape their desired identities. Lastly. 2001. Trauth. work-life challenges and coping strategies. her/his family and the environment in which s/he work (Schein. helped to reduce t load related challenges. My husband is also supportive. women's wishes and desires are expected to conf of their family's traditions. and Morgan ( found that a prevalent theme in relation to the work-family balance is a supportive spouse. Prior research (Mainiero. such as he other aspirations. It will not happen if there is no c Each one in the house ensures things are done. relatives live far away. they were willing to make sacrifice greater cause of achieving the work-family balance. 1997) indicates that the ambition and involvement of work cause them to make sacrifices and compromises in their personal lives as a consequence of their high-profile careers. This was emphasised in all the interviews. Discussion The initial question that guided our research was: How do work and family related factors influence the work-family balance o women IT professionals and what are their challenges and coping strategies to achieve work--family balance? We sought to un how work and family related elements influence the work-family balance of these women. In line with the findings from Fouad et al. This in tu their work-. more research is needed to understand whether the entrenched roles of women as home m care providers in homes are really changing. The mornings are hectic. they had to cope with young children a their careers since there were no creches available. Married women acknowledged that they have less time and energy to spend on their husbands due to their multiple roles that re and involvement. While their husbands were away on business trips the women in that study were solely responsible f household and child rearing and they reported having difficulty finding a reliable maid. and social support. and learning even while operating in this web of role responsibilities. 1996). 2003). especially when one travels for long duratio tough in the absence of a support system. women cont the primary providers for domestic and childcare responsibilities.Work-family balance of Indian women 7 is more or less taken for granted. Given the multiple roles that working women play. The narratives lent further support t findings. organi policies and practices.'s (2008) study. The present study supports the importance of spouse/ family support for women IT professionals to achieve the work-family ba Milkie and Peltola (1999) found that role of the husband is important in achieving balance. both male and female. & balance. Twenty-two per cent of husbands sometimes helped out but a large proportion still subscribed to the traditional role and extend help to their wives. Even among dual-earner career couples women spend more t . Women reported to have less time to spend with relatives due to their busy work schedules combined with th some cases. De Marneffe (2004) found that d about motherhood created tension around a woman's point of identity and its relationship to other aspects of herself. role responsibilities and negotiation. I have a girl who takes care of my son. Quesenberry. My parents who are in Bangalore add to moral support and have always been (Pr) Various interviewees pointed out the importance of supportive supervisors and colleagues in managing their work-family balan escalations occur and there are personal issues to attend to they would request peers in the office to address the problems. they usually do not get adequate time to participate in le recreational activities and still carry the responsibility of housework (Roy. and her need for solitude. challenges. 1998) that create tension between the developm personal interests and family expectations. 1978). Therefore. her need to work. An individual's life ch complicated by the career and life of his/her partner. The narratives confirm this. Women software professionals. and welfare (Rana. already mothers or intending to become mothers. thus affecting the work-family balance of the women. Lyness & Thompson. Yet the survey conducted by Rajadhyaksha and Smita (2004) indicated that only 34% of husbands extended help willi wives. the women in our study experienced empowerment. Often these women travelled frequently and had to deal with the challenges a career with motherhood. honour. Nevertheless. the career and life choices of most of the women were influenced by but women integrated parental direction with their personal choices. They reported that the pressure of rearing a small child. 1994. a person's life fundamental motives and talents. In addition. In India. and by children and/or elders who need care. There is a relationship between aspects of personal development. self-identity. The relationships between the aforementioned aspects clearly became visible in the interviews w high demand on women software professionals. This in turn contributed positively to the work-family balance. The findings of our study point to the uniqueness of the position of women software professionals in India Firstly. Lewis. five women reported less leisure time because they are currently enrolled in an MB programme which takes a substantial amount of time and inhibits a desired work-life balance. In line with Perrons' (2003) study. However. Women reported that their peers. found that for women social support from the family and the organisation is combining multiple roles. Pocock (2003) rightly argues current patterns of work and labour market participation and the stasis in the domestic relations and roles between men and wo and family collide. Kagan. families and domestic help were crucial in achieving the workbalance. spouses provided instrumental and emotional support. Because of this support system I do not otherwise it would be impossible. Ali (2006) in a study on women in the IT industry. Six themes emerged from the narrat influences on life choices. Parikh. time and attention at unpred (Fletcher & Bailyn.

in turn. While their self-identities primarily lie in their work. where organisations offer a wide range of work-family benefits and programmes suc protected parental leave (for both fathers and mothers). Only 18% of women are part of the organized labor sector. the nature of the IT industry causes some unique challenges such as project work with peak load. they are strongly influenced to perform th homemaker and dependent care provider given the societal expectations. would go a long way in enabling women to perform better at work. comparable to the social transformation the United States experienced starting in the 1960s. be fnore to the organisation. which enable women to combine work and family more easily (Rajadhyaksha 2004. especially in Europe. With an increasing number of women entering the workforce and the Indian IT industry facing shortage. Secondly. and the socioeconomic context of India pose unique challenges fo the work--family balance. Women workers in the new IT-related occupations are only 0. An implication is that organisations may no effectively utilising their talent. unpaid family leave. and ultimately contribute to the growth of the economy and positively impact society as whole. and informally through supervisor and co-worke and at home. and the nature of the IT industry challenges the way they manage the professional and personal lives. however. Conclusion In conclusion. the Indian women professionals of today are and see themselves as the trend-setters of the future. part-time return to work options. mentioned that this w conscious choice as they felt their families needed them more at that point in time. the majority of women in our study were able to 'have it all' because of family support the findings of Vinnicombe and Bank (2003). women's career ambitions. The data raised issues that need to be addressed both from an academic and practice point of view. T . This is in con women in the West. Overall. it appears that understanding the role of work and family in the lives of women professionals will become an importa concern. working at odd hou extensive travel that makes the work-life balance difficult to manage for women software professionals as opposed to other ind where one would not find such demanding features of work. depend assistance. women who had taken a slow track in their career growth. flexitime. 2007). and only 20% of these are employed in urban areas. Nevertheless. the themes that emerged from the qualitative analysis highlighted the pervasive factors that impact the work-fam The societal role expectations. This. the nature of the IT industry. Ceilings to their careers is still very small in comparison with the 62% of women in the country who are illiterate and the low 42% female participation in the workforce.3% of urban women workers. Fulf role can be complicated if domestic help is hard to find and the organisation does not provide childcare facilities. Straub. Changing Social Expectations and professional Women in India Best Practices for Global Corporations What has been happening with this demographic Change Management Consulting & Training. however implementing HR policies and practices would facilitate women in pursuing their car dependent care responsibilities. Despite their small numbers in the overall picture. day-care facilities. 2007). The obstacles to their success are many. and many feel pushed into a home making role (Adema & Whiteford. LLC The number of educated Indian women pursuing professional over the past ten years is the start of a quiet revolution in gender relations at work and family relations at home. The identified could serve as a platform for further research on women IT professionals and the work-life balance which will serve as a guide organisations to address the work-family balance issues of working women by designing and implementing HR policies and pr facilitating the work-family balance. on-site childcare.Work-family balance of Indian women 8 housework and childcare than their partners. our findings point to the fact that the multiple roles of wo software professionals in India. formally through HR policies and programmes. Furthermore. Indian women IT professionals can achieve the work-family balance by setting priorities in their work and personal lives and b support systems both at work. this does require negotiation both at home and at wor how and when work can be done.

Many middle class families. Indian women are now Private industry was at first somewhat slow in recognizing the college with degrees in science and engineering. and opting for demanding and sometimes uncertain careers in private industry rather than the security of lower-paid jobs in education or government service. especially in the large urban “metro” cities. The realization has come that. finance. but concern with fully developing their talents and encouraging their rise to leadership positions was not a priority. both recruitment and success of the highly desirable talent pool that how to respond effectively to the new demographic reality with initiatives. Overt discrimination may be receding. o be a professional woman in India today is to 40% of students enrolled in college. especially since 2003-2004. importance of this demographic and cultural shift Women made their way into the corporate workforce. public relations and administration. winning in the “war for talent” is a major competitive factor. and best practices for companies already in challenges and opportunities facing professional women and their employers in India. women are moving into technical. marketing and other job functions. multinational corporations (MNCs) and Indian companies. Traditional social attitudes and cultural patterns have not changed overnight. and that India’s educated professional women are a significant asset that should no longer be undervalued and under-utilized. programs and policies that will support the This paper is based on findings from research studies and a educated women in India represent. The skills and confidence to push for career advancement are not instantly acquired. From being overwhelmingly concentrated in traditional “women’s jobs” in human resources.Work-family balance of Indian women 9 aspiration are made of more than glass. is The challenge for global corporations operating in India. are coming to link their aspirations to a higher standard of living to having daughters and daughters-in-law who are educated and can contribute significantly to the family income. in the global economy. changing social expectations both at India have developed to further their corporate journey to gender India or considering business in India. Four case studies show the solutions that select best-in-class companies operating in . and Indian global corporations. It provides an overview of the number of in-depth interviews with representatives of MNCs work and at home. They are coming out of But the momentum is unstoppable. there has been a groundswell of corporate interest in diversity and gender-inclusion initiatives aimed at capitalizing more fully on the new female talent now available and eager for challenging work. but the “old boys networks” may still be operational. Practical infrastructure challenges can vex the most determined of women as they try to make lives that embrace both work and family. be at the forefront of historic social change. But in the past ten years.

In this report. based on a sample of ten MNCs operating in all These figures for corporate India mirror the macro-economic employed at all levels. and the Asia regional mean. Japan and Singapore. The Corporate Gender Gap Report 2010 looks at the magnitude and scope of genderdifferent countries. paradoxically. produced four countries.Work-family balance of Indian women 10 In 2009. the last several years have seen Indian Professional Women In crucial the female talent pool is to long-term sustainability and success. as well as barriers to the advancement employers in 20 countries. and point to how far India as a society still has to progress in the area of gender parity and survival. to be significantly behind the other three large emerging economies: Brazil at 63%. Based on a survey based disparities.’s 28%. At the senior management level. gradual improvement as corporate India begins to realize how employed in corporations may still lag below the global mean. On the overall percentage of women corporate employees. it ranks 24th on political empowerment. 134th on female health comparison with the BRIC countries on economic participation on economic participation and opportunity — although. of women in corporate leadership.A. Russia at 74%. at 42%. Global Gender Gap Ranking and Economic Participation of Country country Global gender gap ranking(out of 134) % economic participation Brazil 81 63 . A And yet. In March 2010. China at 69%. and integration. the Diversity & Inclusion in Asia Network of inclusion and the advancement of women in their organizations. and 127th World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2009. a Hong Kong-based think tank. and the degree to which various gender inclusion practices are employed in India at 23% comes out not only behind the U. India. India shows only 9% women to Brazil’s 16% and the U. the first ever Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia report on Community Business. while the number of professional women in India of women shows India.S.S. India ranks 114th on the overall index. 124th on educational attainment. at 52%. India comes out last in percentage of women companies operating in China. but also behind Brazil at 35%. the World Economic Forum released the first Comparative Perspective of 600 heads of Human Resources at the world’s largest comprehensive global study benchmarking gender equality practices and comparative statistics on the employment of women by the corporate sector. Out of the 134 countries surveyed in the data for the society as a whole.

Work-family balance of Indian women 11 Russia 51 74 India 114 42 China 60 69 Adapted from The India Gender Gap Review 2009 by the World Economic Forum. .

or 7 p. At 7 a. Leave work at 5:30 p...m. Prepare and serve dinner some time between 8–10 p. 32% 39% 34% 29% 15% 17% 19% 46% Medicine 17% 44% Agriculture 16% 42% .m.m. Reach work around emails until 7:30 a.m. Commute home by shared or individual taxicab.m.. or 6 p. In corporations with global around-the-clock operations. to 8 p. arriving between 7 p. let in and instruct the domestic helpers who do the daily dish washing. or as late as 6:30 p. Log into computer again after dinner and take work and family calls from overseas time zones before retiring at 11 p. Leave with car pool at 8:15 a.. if calls are scheduled. While the official work week in India is 48 hours. except for a lunch break at the company cafeteria.m. Enrollment of Indian Women in Higher Education (2010) Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) reported significant ill health impacts from the stress of balancing a work life of long hours and deadline pressures with daily home responsibilities. Commute takes 1–1½ hours. get dressed.m.m.m.m. or from 2 p.m. which still fall largely on the shoulders of women. in order to overlap with daytime working hours in other countries. answer work and personal for global corporations handle their work-life balance on a daily basis? Here is what a typical day looks like for a married woman in middle management with a working husband. a college-age son and a mother-inlaw living in the home.m. 9:30 a. to 11 p.m. and 7:30 p. Work straight through. it is depending on when husband arrives home from work. Deal with miscellaneous household related matters. Eat a quick breakfast with husband. the work shifts may be from 11 a.m.m.Work-family balance of Indian women 12 How do today’s Indian women professionals working A day in the Life Rise at 6 a. A 2009 survey of corporate female employees by the common for corporate employees in the private sector to put in up to 60 hours a week.m.m.. food preparation and house cleaning.

less than 5% is not significant of Forum for Women In Leadership (WILL). “From the macro and marginal increases at the upper levels. it is said. Whatever the perspective. Indian professional women themselves tend to shy away from in India in support of the country’s potential for rapid progress on gender inclusion in spite of the relatively low benchmark numbers. viewpoint of economics. comparative figures seem to show it particularly endemic in India. Founder-Convener Compiled by Deloitte Development LLC April 2010. but the general tenor of corporate India’s approach to the participation and advancement of women is that gender-blind meritocracy is the goal.S. has a “late mover” advantage: The country can go directly to diversity and inclusion as a winning business strategy without undergoing the decades of struggle of the U.Work-family balance of Indian women 13 15% 22% 22% 19% 39% 44% Science Arts Veterinary Engineering PhD Science College Post-graduate “Not so encouraging. The bulk of Indian change. India. used by permission. Whether this vision will turn out to be accurate or not remains to be seen. and in large part the reality. and Europe to establish the fundamental principles of equal opportunity.” And while this “leaking pipeline” phenomenon has been documented globally. In the words of some of the respondents in the Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia: . an argument is often made professional women are stuck at the mid-level. non-discrimination and gender equity as moral societal imperatives.” says Poonam Barua. ©2010 Working Mother Media | 7 stances that directly challenge any built-in male-preferential biases in the corporate meritocratic system as it currently exists. There have been modest increases at the entry level. They focus instead on how to navigate the existing system as successfully as possible.

based on a survey of over 45 leading ITBPO companies in India. In recent times. and home responsibilities. Likewise noted are increases at the manager level to 14% from 12%. raising children. This perhaps is apparent with the number of women I see in the workforce today as opposed to the time when I started my career. in a growing consumer economy. The normative pattern is men working outside the home areas where most of India’s population resides and in India’s smaller towns. is male-dominant with a clear division of gender children. Multigenerational . then you will be role and focus on doing really well… Try to be very much cases. to provide livelihood and making the important decisions. And my guess is that this trend will continue to grow. in a nuclear family situation. many more women are becoming career minded and not just taking on transient jobs to satisfy an economic need. historically. women do tend to have a work requirements over home responsibilities. The work-life balance offices. Focus on your “Don’t focus on gender and the fact that you are a woman. at the director level to 7% from 5%. With families being more supportive and the concept of external child-care centers becoming increasingly popular. the professional couple may recognized. and is expected to the home responsibilities are still entirely theirs. But there are Overall. Deloitte WIN leader for U. Focus on your strengths and who you are.S. The 2009 NASSCOM Mercer Gender Inclusivity in India report. When women do perform remunerative outside work. And though some of the housework responsibilities are lessened by issue is therefore particularly serious for Indian women. result driven and add value to the company. cooking and raising the in-law comes to live with her husband’s family. “Despite gaining higher education. the husband negotiate a division of home responsibilities and find outside help for childcare when they are both at work. still prevalent in the rural Roles In Transition roles. India Indian Family And Gender have faced a glass ceiling owing to issues of family support for working women.Work-family balance of Indian women 14 Is the glass half-full or half-empty? It depends on the perspective. “second shift” of work at home that is not shared by their husbands as a primary responsibility. flexibility when it comes to staying out late and favoring the children and the home.” The traditional Indian family structure. with the birth of children. considers it “encouraging” that the percentage of female employees grew to 36% in 2008 from 35% in 2006. this has changed. and women taking care of the household. and at the top level to 7% from 6%. Indian women According to Amita Kasbekar. Forget about gender. and men continue to have more the availability of domestic help.” also situations where. women continue to be more involved in caring for and the in-laws may put pressure on the woman to stop working in order to devote herself full-time to the family.

A young woman moves from being a daughter in her parents’ home to being a wife in her husband’s home. one finds Indian families that are thoroughly modern and egalitarian after the manner of the contemporary West. The family is nuclear instead of multigenerational. in a fluid state of transition as the Indian family reinvents itself for the new circumstances of the global world. In some cases. and never has a period of time when she is independent and on her own. and the wife has many choices available to her because of her earning capacity. One can even find a few young women living independently on their own prior to getting married — or not getting married. For the great majority of Indian women professionals. In this family model. among the be subservient to her mother-in-law. the usual pattern being that the daughterAt the other extreme of India’s social landscape. the three-generational family continues and is an asset. family educated classes in the metro cities. Indian Women As Corporate patterns and gender roles are somewhere between the two extremes of the traditional and the ultra-modern. the business case for women in managerial and leadership Managers And Leaders Professional Women Employees in Corporate Job Functions roles has been made repeatedly. women have little autonomy or choice with regards to their personal lives and aspirations.Work-family balance of Indian women 15 living is still common. In-laws take on some of the housework and childrearing responsibilities. the husband and wife are both engaged in professional careers. and no financial independence. freeing women to concentrate more on their work. In other Globally. The 2007 Catalyst Bottom Line Human Resources 27% in India Finance 12% Marketing 21% Other (Sales/Admin/Support) 7% Technical 33% 8 | ©2010 Working Mother Media Adapted from Gender Inclusivity in India 2009 by NASSCOM Mercer. .

Work-family balance of Indian women 16 With a workforce of 90. helping the company be more responsive affirmative action. and the advancement of women are treated as . IBM’s first diversity and the advancement of women. and has developed IBM India participates in all the diversity programs and In 2009. marketplace. gender inclusivity are the following: Some of IBM India’s policies and programs to further for managers • Required 2–3 day diversity sensitivity training searches for senior positions • Requiring a certain % of women candidates in • Campaigns to bring women back to work after • Women-only recruiting events • Formal mentoring programs. work/life balance. woman vice president was appointed in 1943.000. Equal first Equal Opportunity Policy was adopted in 1953. IBM has consistently earned high rankings for diversity initiatives of the global corporation. workforce of about 400. IBM is the MNC with the pioneering in workforce IBM has a long history of Pay for Equal Work was declared in 1935. including group periods of leave • Pairing high potential women with senior executive mentoring. and cultural The “four pillars” of diversity (equal opportunity. Diversity to a broader range of customers and suppliers. and as a business imperative.000 in India out of its total Case in Point: IBM India largest number of employees in India. and one-on-one • Allowing employees to go to work at the IBM office sponsors • Home connectivity provided to most employees to nearest their home • Streamlined transport system with radio networks allow work from home • Affinity network groups for various diversity to address safety concerns Approach constituencies strategy to differentiate itself as one of the world’s great IBM sees global workforce diversity as a cornerstone is viewed as a bridge between the workplace and the companies. Policies and programs Awards for Excellence in Gender Inclusivity. and its and inclusion. IBM was the winner of four of NASSCOM’s some localized versions within different business units. speed mentoring.

At 40%. following patterns around marriage. household responsibilities. increase the representation of women in leadership major areas of diversity focus. the recruitment of women IBM Continuing challenges continuing India’s recruitment rapid challenges in terms of integrating newcomers into the creates Socio-cultural IBM culture around diversity and gender inclusivity. awards it has received for diversity and gender inclusion IBM India judges its success by the large number of giving senior women a company-wide visibility they would initiatives. .Work-family balance of Indian women 17 awareness) are equally stressed at IBM.. Diversity business. raising children. with representatives Leadership Council composed of senior women from business. there is a topfrom Councils that function at the level of each Manager Shanker Annaswamy. The passion from the top for gender almost mirrors the gender ratio in India’s colleges. The Women’s Leadership Council is seen as inclusivity is seen as having a cascading effect throughout not otherwise have. There is also a company-wide India Women’s Results all businesses. the advancement of women is one of the goals of every manager. the organization. childbirth. and executive roles. Current goals are to viewed by women as an employer of choice. and to ensure that the company is level Diversity Council headed by IBM India General To create a high focus for diversity.g. to have an impact of the careers of IBM India’s the husband to a new work location) continue ©2010 Working Mother Media | 9 women professionals. challenges social prevailing caring for elders. (e. Diversity goals are part of the business part of people management in every constituent In IBM India.

sabbaticals. and one of the most respected companies in India Technologies. and systems programs developmental women in their careers. It has been a pioneer among Indian Today Woman Corporate Award for excellence in Infosys was the first winner of the NASSCOM-India Infosys launched its diversity journey in 2003 with the gender inclusivity.Work-family balance of Indian women 18 With Case in Point: Infosys employee 113. and globally. R. This was followed by the creation of network charged with championing a gender sensitive Policies and programs a dedicated corporate Diversity Office in 2006. pool and the strengths that a more diverse work force Murthy. corporations in the area of inclusion and diversity. N. They include: designed to promote gender inclusion and help • Sexual harassment policies • Gender sensitivity and diversity training • Diversity Councils in every business unit work. part-time • Tracking promotions to ensure non-discrimination locations panels • Gender-balanced recruitment and promotion Gender inclusion is framed by Infosys as a key strategy Approach organizational for and sustainability advantage. Ltd. founder and chairman of the board. support Infosys has developed a whole menu of policies. explicitly Support comes from the very top. (IWIN). satellite office • Work-life balance policies: flex hours. telecommuting. Narayana . an internal peer counseling and advisory establishment of the Infosys Women Inclusivity Network work environment. The focus is on tapping the female labor business can bring.796 Infosys worldwide. is India’s largest IT company.

and the percentage of Continuing challenges 83% in 2009 from 59% in 2006. backgrounds. Multiple communication Quarterly diversity dashboards in all business units and employee levels are used to spread and rechannels and forums at the board. special internally designed Inclusivity Index tool. including tier-two and tier-three cities female talent from economically disadvantaged 10 | ©2010 Working Mother Media or rural backgrounds. Retention Between 2004-05 and 2008-09. Additionally. • Peer and professional counseling for women programs for women Results • Women’s affinity groups and portals • Participation in external women’s forums workforce increased to 32% from 23%. and serves as chief mentor of articulates the vision of having more women at all serves as chief sponsor. The Diversity Office reports the IWIN initiative. with shifts special challenges for female employees. training and mentoring enforce awareness and the vision.Work-family balance of Indian women 19 levels in the company. the company’s COO From the board on down. into the scorecards of leaders and managers. frequent travel and Infosys works on a global delivery model. using track data on progress. inclusion metrics are built directly into the Infosys board of directors. . especially occasional relocation. senior management • Special skill building. women in the Infosys women returning to work from maternity increased to increased to 76% from 52%.” that can include night-time work. This business model creates There are also special challenges relating to recruiting those married with children.

A. “Corporate India seems to be working on the traditional suited to the complexities and subtleties of today’s global the way for redefining leadership for future generations.Work-family balance of Indian women 20 outperformed in their return on equity. over the past 30 years. A 2009 Professional Women Employees in Corporate Job Functions companies on the French CAC 40 Stock Exchange with more women on their boards also tended to perform better. Entry level60 BrazilIndiaJapan Norway U. the day-to-day reality on the ground While this is the future vision among India’s small numbers of within the old “think manager — think male” paradigm and for the bulk of Indian professional women. compared with the 21% averageHuman of companies registeredrate Resources 27% Finance 12% Marketing 21% Success Stories and Role Models Adapted from Gender Inclusivity in India 2009 by NASSCOM Mercer. is the need to function Women in Corporate Employment in Selected Countries by Job Level pattern of managerial behavior. an Economic Times study in (Sales/Admin/Support) 7% Technical 33% grew by a compounded annual growth rate of almost 35% Professional Women Employees in Corporate Job Functions when figures revealed that Indian companies headed by women in India on the Bombay Stock Exchange. “while Indian women professionals are definitely on the rise and paving leading corporate women. Some are self-made entrepreneurs. whose careers languish at the middle management level. 36% Other 2008 found a similar link. besides being more long-term rather than of a new model of management leadership that may be more Women in India may be the champions and representatives world. The existence of these high-powered trailblazers is no doubt an Corporate India and the press are enamored with the great Indian business women success icons. sales and invested report showed that companies with more female board members study at the Ceram School of Management in France found that capital — a link that was shown to hold across industries.S. in India Boards of Directors Middle management Senior management 16% Total representation 12% 13% 16% 19%13%19% 35% 8%3% 15%9%22%Human Resources 27% 9%8%21% Marketing 21% 23% 12%Finance 24% transactional in their orientation.” says Poonam Barua. Indeed. a handful of remarkable Indian women have broken through the gender barrier to become the leaders of major business enterprises.” definition of hierarchical leadership. 14% 40% 26% 28% 29% 52% Adapted from The Corporate Gender Gap Report 2010 by the World Economic Forum.In India. managing conflict. like Kiran Majumdar-Shaw. the founder .

the first woman astronaut of Indian descent. like Vidya Manohar Chhabria. currently the Director of Hewlett Packard in India. President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil. the first woman to join the Indian Police Service. Chairperson of the Dubai-based $2 billion Jumbo Group. ©2010 Working Mother Media | 11 inspire. but their stories are miles away from the daily challenges faced by ordinary women striving to make their way into entrylevel jobs and careers in organizations that still do not have many • A tendency to be fair and transparent in communications In order to understand what key skill sets women bring to the Technical 33%running of organizations and corporations in India. But there is a problem with iconic figures.Work-family balance of Indian women 21 of India’s largest biopharmaceutical firm. Biocom. Kiran Bedi. They join the other famous Indian women whose names are household words: the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. have risen through the ranks in major global corporations. and since 2004 the richest woman in India. and Kalpana Chawla. who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Others like Neelam Dhawan. The study identified Adapted from Gender Inclusivity in India 2009 by NASSCOM Mercer. They can no doubt inspiration to young Indian women aspiring to professional success in business and the corporate world. Yet others. distinct management capabilities and leadership styles more characteristic of women then of men: These findings are in line with research elsewhere that shows • A tendency to drive an inclusive approach and build ecosystems that nurture talent • Intuitive crisis management • A calculated and prudent approach to decisions and risk taking • Adeptness at managing teams and client relationships • Leading ethically with values and by example • A persuasive leadership style that enables long-lasting relationships • A tendency to be self-critical of their own strengths and weaknesses • A tendency to rebound gracefully from setbacks . are women from the families that own the companies. the WILL Other (Sales/Admin/Support) 7%Forum in India and KPMG partnered in 2009 on a survey of 114 men and women in senior management roles in both public and private sector enterprises. Indian Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi.