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Your service rep in India has work life balance issues, too

Get a group of women together and what do they talk about? Their jobs, the kids, exercise, trying to do it all. Guess what? That's the same thing they talk about in India.

Just this weekend, I chatted with a nice woman in India when I called my computer company to get some help. She spent at least an hour, maybe two, trying to talk me through my tech issues. She was patient and helpful. The truth is, I never really gave any thought to what her life was like until I read this article today in The Hindu It  made me realize that balancing career and home is a universal issue. The story says that work life balance is the most discussed topic by women in and outside office circles, whatever the capacity and nature of work they are in.

Just like in the United States, women in India often find themselves forced to quit their jobs when they can't make the balance thing work. Five years ago,  when a talent strategy consulting firm in India, launched its portal to help create interim-flexi hours for women, it conducted a survey where it showed that 18 per cent of women employees quit jobs never to return to work.

Now, women in the country are asking workplaces to be more flexible. Day cares, part-time jobs and other basic amenities such as transport assistance are still a far cry in many sectors. But there are some efforts underway. IT parks, for example, are becoming one-stop-destinations offering grocery shopping and day care right in the workplace. Apparently, there's even a company in India with an internal website that address the needs, problems and concerns of women employees.

So, next time you're rushing like a mad person to pick your kid up from daycare before you get charged an extra fee, or pregnant and job hunting, realize that you have a lot in common with women far, far away who are dealing with the same work life issues as you.

I just wonder, who will advance faster on making workplaces more family-friendly, the United States or India? Personally, I think we've lost ground. Your thoughts?



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Jennifer Fraone

Hello Cindy-
I think your observations are right on...work-life integration is indeed a universal issue, but does manifest itself differently depending on the culture, economy, and demographics of the country. At the Boston College Center for Work & Family, we have begun to study these issues in the emerging markets, including India, and have developed an Executive Briefing series to explore the nuances of work-life in different nations. I invite you and your readers to learn more by visiting our website:http://www.bc.edu/centers/cwf/research/publications.html#executivebrifingseries
Currently available at this link are Work-Life in Brazil, India and China with Russia set to release this week and Japan and Sweden later this year. The briefings (sponsored generously by our corporate partner Johnson & Johnson)review the current status of work-life in these nations and provide best practices from our partners working in these countries. Thanks for your continued focus on these important issues!

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