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Pandemic Is a Surprise Boon for Women in the World’s Back Office

  • India allows permanent work from home for back office industry
  • Rules to help women in small towns, those who need flexibility
Teena Likhari working at home in Gurgaon last Friday.
Teena Likhari working at home in Gurgaon last Friday.Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg
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The coronavirus pandemic has hit women worldwide with job losses and closures of childcare centers. Yet a surprising bright spot is emerging: India’s $200 billion technology services industry, where new rules are expected to provide female workers with a broad swath of flexible work arrangements and fresh employment opportunities.

On the outskirts of New Delhi, Teena Likhari, 45, quit her job running operations for the Indian back office of a Silicon Valley company in 2018 because of a family medical emergency. Looking to rejoin this year, she expected a market stunted by lockdowns. Instead, the pandemic had made work-from-home mainstream in her industry, which had long shunned the practice.