Unilever's program helps female professionals fight the inherently anti-woman corporate reality
Ayesha Karim (not real name) worked in a reputed bank in Dhaka. Two years ago, she gave birth to her first child. Since then, she had to juggle two different jobs: rearing her child and working in bank. Her husband, also a high ranked official at a company, had little time to look after the child. Ayesha resorted to domestic help. As days went by, she became quite anxious about her child during her working hours. At one 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 regarded by many as the most wonderful moment in a woman’s life, but sometimes it requires a lot of sacrifices 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, 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 family matters. 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 tackling the assumption within my professional sphere 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 in HR projects under the Stride program.
The initiative is designed to ease the transition for women returning to the workforce after having spent some time away from it. The program 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/