Uncovering the Story of Overqualified Housewives of India

Women re-entering the workforce after maternity leave is often a challenge. Sankari Sudhar, the founder of "Overqualified Housewives" talks about a solution.
Overqualified Housewives: A talent pool
Overqualified Housewives: A talent poolImage Credit: The Bridge Chronicle

The decision to take a career break after childbirth is a significant one, often driven by the desire to care for one's children. While some women successfully reintegrate into the workforce, others face obstacles that prevent them from returning to work despite their intentions. For many, financial independence remains a crucial goal, yet the traditional roles assigned to women in caregiving often lead to them sacrificing their career aspirations for their families.

The World Economic Forum reports that between 2019 and 2020, women's participation in labour fell globally by 3.4%, while men's participation dropped by 2.4%. Since then, women have been returning to the workforce at a slightly greater rate than men, leading to a tiny rebound in gender parity. Parity in the labour force participation rate rose from 63% to 64% between the years 2022 and 2023. 

Overall, the Middle East and North Africa (30%) and Southern Asia (34%), on average, have the lowest levels of parity in participation at the regional level. North America receives the highest score of 84% out of all regions, followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 80%, and Europe at 82%. After the spike in layoffs due to the covid pandemic, the unemployment rates for both men and women have nearly reached pre-pandemic levels again.

Did you know?
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports that, as of right now, the rate of unemployment worldwide is approximately 4.3% for men and 4.5% for women. In India, women make up just 19.2% of the labour force , compared to men's 70.1%, indicating that there is a 50.9% gender disparity in employment.

Here, Sankari Sudhar settled in Chennai comes with a startup “Overqualified Housewives” with her IT skills and work, which will allow women to find jobs using this platform. She launched it in 2022 and since then, she has upskilled over 2,500 women, employed five staff members, and assisted over 500 women in finding employment in IT, healthcare, and other industries. It is a startup based in Chennai that bridges the gap between employers and women, especially women. Reluctant to accept the cost of parenthood, Sankari used her IT expertise and network to create Overqualified Housewives, a job portal. Her portal prioritizes one-time payments, freelance work, and work from home opportunities. This platform promises to act as a catalyst in giving women their power back - the power called 'Financial Independence'.

Sankari took a break from the IT industry to care for her child. When she was prepared to rejoin the employment later, however, there was no space for her. She was ignored. She graduated in computer science engineering from MIT [Madras Institute of Technology]. Right after her graduation, she joined infosys, Mysore as a trainee software developer.

Sankari Sudha said in an interview that as of right now, she has partnerships with 600 companies in US and German locations as well as Chennai and Bengaluru. Initially, she focused on locating positions in HR, administrative support, and data entry. However, as of right now, they have provided 25 opportunities, including real estate, hotels, IT, and content writing. The majority of the women she has placed make between Rs. 18,000 and Rs. 60,000 a month, depending on their position and skill level. 

After developing a community of more than 25,000 women in ten countries, they have discovered that women who have returned to work are unable to restart their careers due to a deficiency of up-to-date, relevant, and marketable skills as well as a lack of flexible possibilities. So they are having Learnherclub, which provides 52 professionals from various industries with a platform to share their experiences, knowledge, and expertise in order to empower overqualified housewives and educate others at a cost of less than 7 INR per day. Her next goal is to help more women from lower middle-class families by broadening the scope of Overqualified Housewives. The upper middle class can work from home because they can afford to hire housekeepers. The most affected are the middle and lower middle classes.

The Bridge Chronicle believes It is normal and legal to have babies and take maternity leave even though many companies don’t allow it. Even though the government has made strict rules on maternity leaves companies don’t follow them. Giving birth and taking a break from a career for a few days or months won’t make any woman less preferable to a job.

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