Press releases

2023 Women @ Work

Women across the world cite their rights, physical and mental health, and financial security as top concerns: Deloitte survey

Deloitte’s Women @ Work report reveals signs of progress across various parameters, but there’s still a lot of room for improving the workplace experience

Mumbai, 27 April 2023—Now in its third year, Deloitte’s Women @ Work: A Global Outlook surveyed 5,000 women across 10 countries, including 500 in India across age groups, employment status, sectors, and seniority. The survey finds some signs of progress for women in the workplace, but equally that other factors have worsened since last year.

Fewer non-inclusive behaviours and bolder younger generations, but mental health and flexibility concerns remain high

Reflective of the global trend, women in India experienced fewer non-inclusive behaviors in 2023 than in 2022. The instance fell by almost 10 percentage points to 48%. Amongst those who did experience such behaviours, reporting of microaggressions more than doubled. The most commonly experienced non-inclusive behaviour was being interrupted or talked over during meetings. Similarly, there’s a sharp drop in women reporting a lack of exposure to leaders, or feeling excluded from meetings, decisions, and informal interactions.

While levels of stress and burnout continue to be high globally and in India, it’s encouraging that in India, the youngest segment of the workforce is most comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace.

Commenting on these insights, Saraswathi Kasturirangan, Chief Happiness Officer, Deloitte India said, “It’s heartening to see younger generations take charge in having conversations that have traditionally been a taboo. While top-down interventions and role-model behaviour are important to support mental health, organisations should leverage on this generation to establish strong peer-to-peer networks of mental health champions. The hope is that this cohort will hold on to their openness and progress towards being understanding, humane leaders of the future.”

It’s reassuring that women are reporting better hybrid working experiences than last year. However, more women in India working in hybrid environments are also reporting a lack of predictability (28% now vs. 15% in 2022) and flexibility (32% now vs. 13% in 2022), as well as clarity around their employer’s expectations compared to last year. The proportion of respondents who say that they are expected to go into their workplace despite messaging about flexibility and it being their choice has jumped from 10% in 2022 to 36% now.

“Organisations need to address this flexibility, predictability and clarity deficit for sure, as this can adversely affect employee engagement and retention,” said Saraswathi.

Women continue to bear the greatest responsibility for childcare and household tasks

Although the global average findings are similar, a higher share of women in India report having to shoulder the primary responsibility for childcare, and cleaning and other domestic tasks (59% and 48% resp. in India vs. 46% and 42% globally). The share of households where the load of childcare is equally split is much higher globally (34%) than in India (15%).

Interestingly, even amongst women who are primary or equal breadwinners in the household (globally), 40% (the single largest section) are still primary caregivers for children and 35% are still responsible for cleaning and other domestic tasks.

“This firstly indicates the need for an attitude shift, which is a large, complex, and long-drawn task. But secondly, and something that’s within the control of India Inc., it may also indicate the need for more paternity benefits so that men who are willing to share the load can effectively do so,” opines Saraswathi. “For many organisations, parental benefits extend only to legally mandated maternity leave. Forward thinking organisations can go beyond and develop a suite of paternity benefits that will start moving the needle.”

When it comes to women’s health issues, it’s time to break the silence

Many of the surveyed working women are experiencing health challenges related to menstruation and menopause. Among them, more than 33% report working through pain or symptoms related to menstruation and 18% work through symptoms related to menopause. Approx. a quarter of women took time off for these reasons without disclosing it. While 26% said they did disclose menopause as a reason for taking time off and received support from their employer, only 13% of those who did the same during menstruation agree.

Gender Equality Leader organisations benefit through an amplifier effect
This is the third year Deloitte’s research has identified a group of “Gender Equality Leaders,” organisations that, according to the women surveyed, have created genuinely inclusive cultures that support their careers, work/life balance, and foster inclusion. Women who work for Gender Equality Leaders are more engaged and have higher levels of well-being and job satisfaction.

Women who work with Gender Equality Leaders are five times likelier to recommend their organisations to friends or family as a great place to work, than those who work for lagging organisations.

Saraswathi shared, “This statistic goes to show that being an inclusive and supportive organisation has merits that go much deeper than just optics. They have a visible positive effect on talent attraction, engagement, and retention.”


Between October 2022 and January2023, Deloitte Global conducted a survey of 5,000 women in 10 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States) to learn more about their experiences in the workplace. The survey also aimed to understand the state of gender equality in the workplace from an intersectional lens and the types of actions that employers are taking to support, retain, and empower women within their organizations. Each respondent answered 28 questions about their experience at work; the impact of that experience on their personal life; and the steps their employer is taking to support their career progression and well-being.

This press release has been issued by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a more detailed description of DTTL and its member firms.


Rohan Sharma
Deloitte India
Mob: +91 9819874948
Email: srohan@deloitte.com

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