The Rising 2023 summit featured a riveting panel discussion titled “Bridging Perspectives on Women Back to Work,” featuring esteemed panelists Vasudha Bommireddy, Shreya Krishnan, Harini Shekar, and Radhika Jagmohan Madas. The discussion delved into the challenges and opportunities that women face when re-entering the workforce, particularly in the tech industry.
The Nuances of a Career Restart
Vasudha Bommireddy, Vice President – Engineering at Providence India, opened the discussion by highlighting the nuanced challenges that women face when restarting their careers. Whether it’s a break due to maternity, caregiving, or other personal reasons, re-entering the workforce comes with its set of hurdles. Vasudha emphasized that organizations need to be more empathetic and flexible in their policies to accommodate women who are making a comeback.
The Art of Networking
Shreya Krishnan, EVP Marketing and Communications at Aon, spoke about the importance of networking for women who are planning to return to work. She pointed out that networking doesn’t just mean professional connections but also includes mentors and peers who can provide emotional support and guidance. Shreya encouraged women to actively seek out and participate in networking events, online forums, and mentorship programs.
Upskilling: A Necessity, Not an Option
Harini Shekar from PayPal focused on the critical role of upskilling for women returning to work. She argued that the tech industry is ever-evolving, and skills can become obsolete quickly. Therefore, upskilling is not just an option but a necessity. Harini also mentioned that companies should offer training programs specifically designed for women who are re-entering the workforce.
Corporate Returnship Programs
Radhika Jagmohan Madas, Global Vice President, People Organization at Q2, discussed the concept of corporate returnship programs. These are structured programs that allow women to ease back into the professional environment. Radhika emphasized that such programs should be more than just a ‘stop-gap’ measure and must aim to provide long-term career paths for returning women.
The Road Ahead
The panelists agreed that while significant strides have been made in creating more inclusive workplaces, there’s still a long way to go. They called for more flexible policies, better mentorship programs, and a cultural shift in organizations to truly accommodate and celebrate the return of women to the workforce.
The panel discussion at Rising 2023 served as a comprehensive guide for both organizations and women planning to return to work. It highlighted the multi-faceted challenges and offered actionable insights into making the transition smoother. As Radhika Jagmohan Madas aptly put it, the road ahead is long, but the journey has certainly begun.