NEWSLETTER March 2016 Twitter Facebook In wikipedia  
  Bringing the Best Companies for Women to India

By Ms. Subha V Barry

  Thirty years ago, Working Mother set out on a bold mission: to demand that companies not only offer family-friendly benefits, but also compete to be the best at it. We recruited as many companies as we could to participate, asking them to reveal how many women worked there and in what roles. We asked about their maternity leave, child care and flex offerings. The best employers were starting to think about these issues, while others needed a bit of coaxing to apply. Only 30 companies that first year were good enough to be called Best.

Today, with hundreds of companies competing yearly to join our Working Mother 100 Best Companies, the four primary pillars-advancement of women, paid parental leave, child care and flex-still hold up our efforts. Yet so much has changed. Take child care: Three decades ago, the gold standard was an on-site facility, and five of the Best Companies offered it. These days, Best Companies feature an array of child care benefits-from sick-child and backup care to business travel reimbursements, summer camps and, yes, daily child care-because they know how important these are to working parents.

We are very excited to establish the Best Companies for Women in India. This is a ground breaking initiative whose time has come. This 30 year old survey has shaped how US companies have evolved their programs, policies and culture to be more inclusive of women and working parents. We want to be able to bring some of those teachings and share them with our Indian colleagues and help them accelerate their progress and success for the Inclusion and success of Women in the workplace. And who better than India's first diversity advocate & workplace inclusion expert, the AVTAR Group for partnering us in this initiative.

I would like to take a moment to thank the team who made this project possible. Team AVTAR for their intense work in putting together the Best Companies for Women in India project in record time. More specifically, Dr. Saundarya Rajesh - whose leadership and visionary thinking have been a source of inspiration.

To be called the 2016 Working Mother and AVTAR Best Companies for Women, this survey cum benchmarking project will be the largest self-tracking, self-reporting and self-evaluating opportunity for Indian companies, especially at a time when they are losing their female workforce at the rate of 11% per year.

The Project kicked off on International Women's Day and the 2016 Working Mother and AVTAR Best Companies for Women list will be announced in November 2016 at the Global Advancement of Women Conference in India. The best companies will be honoured, awarded & celebrated amidst South Asia's biggest women leaders & diversity experts.

The survey methodology and format is Working Mother's proprietary tool. Supported by AVTAR's data analytics and research wing, it has been adapted to fit Indian business dynamics. It has 350+ questions comprehensively covering all aspects of a company's policies, practices and procedures for attracting, engaging, retaining and developing women in business organizations. The questionnaire will prompt companies to report on important topics such as women's retention & advancement, safety & security, flexible work, paid leave, benefits, gender pay gaps, company culture & work-life programs. The survey aims to be an annual event, enabling the first such long term diversity tracking in the country.

We are thrilled to launch the Best Companies for Women program in India to track and celebrate the progress of women in the workforce. The 100 Best has been a standard bearer to document and drive change in U.S. companies that are committed to the advancement of women, and we look forward to watching its development in India, now and for years to come.


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