Ayesha Karim (not real name) was working in a reputed bank in Dhaka—a job coveted by many. Two years ago, she gave birth to her first child. Since then, she had to juggle two different worlds between rearing her child and managing her job. Her husband, also a high official at a company, had little time to look after the child as well. Ayesha resorted to domestic help. As days went by, she became quite anxious about her child during her working hours. At a point, she decided to leave the job—a choice she had never thought she would have to make during her bright academic life.
Being a mother is the most wonderful moment in a woman's life, but sometimes it requires a lot of sacrifice on the part of the woman. The story of Ayesha is not a unique one in the country. There are many women who have had to entirely sacrifice their jobs to raise a child or play other familial roles, with little opportunity of ever re-entering the corporate world after such a lengthy time away from it.
For women with stories like Ayesha in the country, Stride, a unique initiative by Unilever Bangladesh, started advancing the idea that there is a pathway back into the corporate world after a career break.
“When I went on a career break, it was because of pressing familial conditions. When I was ready to get myself back in the game I found it was easier said than done. The break coupled with the fact that I now had a young child made me lose edge over other candidates who did not have the same obligations. I have a kid, which means as a mother I am required to do everything in my life with greater efficiency, but I was struggling with the professional assumption that I'm now less efficient after having a child. Stride gave me that chance to pursue my career again, to do what I love and do right by the people I love!” says Mahjabeen Tuba, who currently works on HR projects under the Stride programme.
The initiative is designed to ease the transition for women returning to the workforce after having spent some time away from it. The programme allows for gaining hands-on experience in running business projects as well as mentoring from some of the best minds in the corporate world. The flexible working hours and terms as well as the company's agile working policies allow women to design their work in a way that is suitable to their unique needs.
For more details on Stride, visit the Unilever Bangladesh website at https://www.unilever.com.bd/careers/professionals/stride/