CHENNAI: The aim is to push the conversation on workplace childcare which enables working women to enjoy both a loving family and a soaring career, said Sridevi Raghavan, the CEO and co-founder of Amelio.
Addressing Amelio's first annual conference on "workplace childcare to build diversity", Raghavan emphasised on the need for good childcare facilities not only to increase gender equality but also to enhance productivity and build a loyal workforce.
Organised in partnership with the International Finance Corporation, the event saw an august gathering of trailblazers in business debating, discussing and brainstorming to "build a more relevant and inclusive workplace for the future".
Amelio, one of India's oldest childcare facilities, has over 30 centres spread across three cities.
The company recently became a part of Babilou (Europe's largest childcare group) after the latter acquired a major stake in Amelio earlier in 2018.
"Amelio provides high-quality education for the parents in corporates so that they can pursue a guilt-free career. Collaborating with like-minded stakeholders such as the consulate of France in Chennai and the IFC has enabled Amelio to push the conversation of workplace childcare through this debate," Raghavan added.
Pointing out India's poor rate of gender diversity at workplaces, she said, "India has among the worst participation of women in the workforce at about 17 per cent. Women's participation at senior-level jobs is at 20 per cent and in leadership positions under 8 per cent. Women being forced to leave the workplace harms both the family and the company. In India, childcare is still primarily a mother's job and without adequate support women naturally drop out of their jobs mostly against their desires."
Consul General of France for Chennai and Pondicherry Catherine Suard, who was at the event, too emphasised on the need for better corporate childcare facilities.
"My country (France) has one of the highest ratios of women employment. And these achievements are the key factor for the development of a democracy and gender equality. It is important to support Indian women and their participation in the Indian economy," she said.
Asked about the growth of India's women in workforce vis-a-vis France, she said, "Every country has its growth rate. India is growing towards a better tomorrow and eventually the participation of women in corporates will increase".
The event followed panel discussions, where representatives of corporate giants reiterated the need for better childcare facilities post the Maternity (Amendment) Act 2017 in India.
The Maternity law makes it mandatory for companies with 50 or more employees to provide a creche facility.