In what can give a new direction to the debate of facilitating work-life balance and providing a culture and infra for women at work to be more productive while dealing with personal responsibilities simultaneously, a woman top executive of a multinational company has come up with a suggestion of having a crèche facility must for any organisation or a group of organisations collectively.
Tehseen Zaidi, the head of Communications at Syngenta India, a Swiss-based MNC strongly advocates the need of having a crèche facility for women at their workplace to ensure they don’t have to compromise with their careers. This, she says, is based on her personal experience of having brought up two kids and seeing the world around women like her.
An alumna of CSJM University, Kanpur, Tehseen recalls her days when she got pregnant for a second time. “It was considered a woman-dominated organisation. But when I told a male colleague, my senior, that I was pregnant and will not be able to work on this certain show, he gave me a very strange look and was like ‘oh, your career is over’. He in fact went on to question my decision of having a second child. “How dare you plan to have a second child?” he uttered only to be told: ‘It’s my wish’.”
“The same colleague continued casting aspersions and questioning my abilities in maintaining the same degree of dedication and giving the same amount of quality work when I resumed work. While he tried to push me down the order in handling primetime shows in the channel we worked, my stiff resistance and stern stand didn’t let him succeed.”
She says she shared this example just to let the world know the kind of problems women face during or post-pregnancy at their workplace. “I could stand my ground because I could afford to do that as my organization NDTV had a creche facility for all the employees irrespective of gender. I could anytime step out anytime and see my children, there was a dedicated doctor, 5 nannies and 2 nursery-trained teachers to look after our children so that we can work peacefully. Many out there don’t have this liberty. I know many bright professionals who were extremely sharp at their work but had to give it up post-pregnancy only because they could not get the kind of support system they required to continue working.”
This is where the common attitude and perception need to change. A better infra and a bit of supportive thought process by the leaders in the industry can work wonders for working moms, she says, adding she communicated the same with Hon’ble Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Irani in her recent interaction with her.
On asked what the companies should do to support women have their work-life balance, Tehseen says the companies must have an in-house crèche facility so that the mother is not anxious, can see her child and doesn’t have separation anxiety. This one simple yet effective step can work magic for working moms and also help companies retain their best pool of talent.
In this fast-paced world which sees cut-throat competition, pregnancy must not be a reason for women to compromise with their dreams. And for that to happen, a small step like this will go a long way, she concluded.