Ashoka University’s GCWL to organize training program for returning and working mothers

Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership (GCWL), under the Ashoka University is facilitating the ‘breakthrough’ training program for returning and working mothers, as per FE report. In fact, the GCWL is organising this for the second year, in addition to a new cohort – returning mothers, women who dropped out of workforce due to maternity and childcare and now aspire to return to work. The training will be held in three phases starting from August to October this year, noted the report.

Organisational Nominations

GCWL is accepting organisational nominations from working mothers in the corporate and developmental sector, and direct applications from returning mothers. “All participating women will have seven days of face-to-face training, spread across three months. The focus will be on capacity building to chart a successful career trajectory post maternity, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance,” GCWL said in a statement.

The training follows through from the research findings of GCWL’s study in the report ‘Predicament of Returning Mothers’, in April 2018. The report was based on the qualitative study on lived experiences of maternity and career among women and their return to the workforce across corporate, media and development sectors.

Harpreet Kaur, director, GCWL, said, “Women do not forget how to work or do their jobs post maternity. Social structures in India are designed in a way that maternity becomes a barrier to women’s workplace ambitions. Workplace attitudes, expectations of childcare, gender norms—all prevent women from reintegrating into workplace. What they need is a little support and a few nudges to reach their potential and achieve their ambitions.”


Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership (GCWL) aims at “steering the global thinking on ‘women, business, & human rights’ and designing cutting edge programmes that enable millions of women to lead with equality and dignity.” The Centre strives to make gender equality the expected norm in Indian organizations and society.  In specific, the Centre envisages to achieve its mission through specific, measurable and actionable objectives by:

  • Enabling women to develop to their full professional potential, further career goals, and contribute to workplace and business success
  • Challenging organization leadership to design workplaces where gender equity thrives
  • Collaborating with policy makers to promote women’s leadership by advocating progressive practices and policies

Academia-Industry Partnership

The GCWL, a unique academia-industry partnership between Ashoka University and Genpact, is carving pathways to enhance female workforce representation across various organizational levels, including top management. With a focus on finding implementable solutions, the Centre is committed to reducing barriers to advancements for women looking to expand their career horizons.

Women, in the workforce and returning to work, often face challenges that are barricades to their career growth. These are often influenced by social norms, organizational setups, and the seasoned thinking baton that has been passed down hierarchical structures and inherited across generations.

GCWL’s diligence, guided by academic research and industry benchmarks, is aimed at influencing policy and systemic changes across the Indian corporate and social sector. These changes are intended to support the presence of women in the Indian workforce, reduce female attrition, and foster a merit based system for advancements to leadership positions, noted the statement.

Promoting Gender Equality

At GCWL, a multi-pronged approach is adopted to promote gender equality at workplaces. By synergizing high-impact projects, advocacy initiatives, and research, the Center is determined to change the status quo and make gender equality at workplaces a reality.

Why Gender Equality at Work?

India is missing out on potential economic growth that could have been achieved if women were equal participants in the Indian workforce, urban and rural.  The female labour force in India contributed only 17 % to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), citing McKinsey Global Institute’s Report, 2015, The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in India, the statement said. The report highlights the deplorable state of female participation in the Indian labour force which constitutes less than a quarter of the national labour force. Of the 95 countries studied, these numbers place India in the list of nations with the largest gender gaps in labour force participation.

The same report also discusses a “full potential” scenario, wherein women and men have an equal participation in the economy.  If India can achieve the “full potential” scenario, India’s GDP in 2025 could rise by 60 %.

Potential Goldmine

GCWL recognizes that the Indian female workforce is a potential goldmine that lies untapped and can be leveraged for organizational and national growth. Therefore, Centre’s initiatives are designed and implemented to ensure that the needle moves towards gender equality.  Programmes

GCWL is currently working on programmes to empower organizations, women, and students to develop and strengthen their leadership skills, whilst addressing various barriers and impediments that women face at workplaces:

  • Women, Business, and Human Rights
  • Returning Mothers
  • Three and a half point pledge
  • Managing bias and stereotypes research

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