Women can restart careers if given platforms that foster flexibility, says Tata Tech's Naaz Mushrif

The biggest challenge in women's minds as they restart their careers after a break is whether they will be able to achieve the desired work life balance.

By Radhika Dave calendar 24 Jun 2024 Views icon2936 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Women can restart careers if given platforms that foster flexibility, says Tata Tech's Naaz Mushrif

In today's day and age, when women hold critical positions at top organisations and work shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts, there is still a widening dispartiy in terms of workplace flexibility for women. 

A recent study conducted by Deloitte on women in the workplace in India reveals an interesting fact. As with their global counterparts, nearly all women in India believe that requesting or taking advantage of flexible working opportunities would affect their career progression. 

However, Naaz Mushrif, Global Head-Talent Management and Diversity, Tata Technologies espouses this very view, as she talks to Autocar Professional  how encouraging flexible roles can foster re-entry of women into the workforce. 

Despite the challenge of attracting women to mechanical engineering—a field with historically low female representation—we embraced this opportunity with the Reignite program. Our efforts, including social media campaign #engineeringbetterlives, alumni outreach, and partnerships with diversity job portals like HerKey, have yielded significant results. Currently, 35 women engineers are participating in internships, gaining valuable experience and mentorship, she added.

She states that the success of Reignite lies in its comprehensive approach, ensuring that participants receive not only training but also real-world exposure and opportunities for permanent employment as well as build an employer brand that women on career break want to associate with when they restart their career.

"Women restarting their engineering careers often face outdated technical skills  and a lack of supportive platforms for a phased return to work. The biggest challenge is in the mind as they are reluctant to commit to any organization as they wonder whether they would be able to achieve the desired work life balance," she notes.

To better support women, workplaces can institutionalise returnee programs similar to campus recruitment, offering structured training and gradual re-integration into the workforce. Policies accommodating remote work, sabbaticals, and flexible roles can significantly aid women balancing multiple priorities, she adds. 

Naaz elaborates that by designing roles of varying intensity levels and creating a supportive infrastructure, organizations can better leverage the potential of women's talent at different phases of their professional journeys.

For instance Tata Technologies' The Reignite program offers domain-specific training in fields such as CAD, CAM, CATIA, and CREO. The program culminates in a one-month internship, where participants work on live projects under the mentorship of technical SMEs, ensuring a smooth transition back into the workplace and boosting their confidence and technical proficiency.

The company, which has 1,700 women engineers globally, is encouraging women participation not only in the workforce but specifically in areas such as STEM. 

"Our commitment to advancing STEM education is evident through our Education via Empowerment (EVE) initiative. EVE aims to empower girls from low-income
families to pursue higher education in STEM fields by providing financial support and essential soft skills," Mushrif notes. 

"Through our RAINBOW DEI Program, we engage in STEM campus events, such as those in Birmingham, UK, where we attract aspiring women technologists and introduce them to various career opportunities at Tata Technologies," she adds. 


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