Returning Mothers: IEEE Women in Engineering E-Symposium 2020
Uncovering the challenge of retaining new mothers in the workforce.
IEEE Computer Society Team
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On the 20th and 21st of November, 2020, the IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Women in Engineering Pune Section, and IEEE Women in Engineering Madras Section presented a “Returning Mothers” symposium.
This virtual symposium focused on the organizational challenge of retaining new mothers, in both India and around the world. The report titled “Predicament of Returning Mothers”, released by Ashoka University, discovered a shocking 73% of Indian women leave their jobs upon giving birth and fail to return. 50% of working women in the country leave their jobs to take care of their children at the age of 30 – and among those that do return, 48% drop out within four months of rejoining the workforce.
The symposium provided various requirements and solutions to mitigate the difficulties returning mothers face; such as mentorship, skill development, and support (in and out of the workplace). Furthermore, a variety of researchers, social activists, technology specialists, industry executives, and academia came together to discuss the above topics, as well as support and encourage the women who are on a career break to return to the workforce.
This symposium provided valuable insight and information to its participants.
Among the 290 students, professionals, and early career women participating was Pooja Sharma K, Initiative Lead for the IEEE Computer Society Job Fair India, 2020. She found the event to be “one of the best”, stating:
“IEEE Women In Engineering E-Symposium 2020 is one of the best Women in Engineering symposiums I had ever attended under IEEE. This E-Symposium had really made a huge impact to many of the women since it specially focused on ‘Returning Mothers’. Over all I would say it had truly made the community of Women in Technology to Innovate, Empower, Inspire and Engage.”
Co-organizer Dr.Ramalatha Marimuthu, from the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors (2019 – 2021), was also very pleased with the symposium, expressing:
“Being a co-organizer for the event, I am proud of the way the event was executed. With excellent speakers who spoke on relevant and need-of-the-hour topics, there were great takeaways for the participants. There were many instances where the guests planned their follow up meetings giving meaning to the networking efforts of the organizers.”