Increased growth within India’s Information Technology (IT) sector has made way for skilled Indian women to enter the workforce and undertake projects for International clients. Despite the growing trend, very few studies have focused on Indian women in the industry.

Dr Dhara Shah, and Professor Michelle Barker from Griffith University’s’ Department of Business Strategy and Innovation have undertaken a study of 23 Indian, female, IT repatriates, who completed medium to long-term international assignments.

Their study explored how societal expectations of Indian women had an impact on work-life interface (WLI) and the motivation to undertake international assignments. The goal was to gain a clearer understanding of how the sample perceived WLI issues as part of the decision-making process for international assignments.

Findings suggested that whilst most enjoyed improved work-life balance at client sites, they were unwilling to undertake further long-term assignments as a result of socially constructed, gender-derived expectations such as marriage and motherhood.

Nevertheless, many reported that they were motivated to undertake short to medium-term international assignments as a way of gaining independence from gender inequalities and cultural demands. More-over, social support networks at home and in the host country, had an impact on their decisions. Dr Shah noted:

“Skilled, Indian women entered a demanding industry to pursue their careers and whilst their roles as wives and mothers placed additional demands upon them, most maintained their aspirations and willingness to undertake international assignments.“

The findings of this study have implications for International Human Resource Management (IHRM) and WLI theory and have been published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management.