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Manufacturing sector poised to boost women workforce

Monday October 4, 2021, By Janani Sampath

The manufacturing sector in India is set to see more women in the workforce, with more companies coming up with programs to boost their participation.

Earlier in September 2021, Ola FutureFactory made it to the news for inducting an all-women team to work in its factory in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. In August, Tata Steel’s West Bokaro Division onboarded 16 women Heavy Earth Moving Machinery (HEMM) operators for the flagship program Women@Mines — an entire women team operating in all the shifts. Tata Steel has also been conducting the ‘Women Of Mettle’, a scholarship program, regularly to induct more women in the manufacturing sector. TVS Motors has revealed that it plans to increase its women workforce to 25 percent in Financial Year 2022. In 2020, the two-wheeler major made it to the top ‘100 Best Companies for Women’ in the gender analytics exercise carried out by Avtar and Working Mother.

The change is around the corner, as an Avtar report has also highlighted that in the COVID-19 scenario, while the Informational Technology (IT) and Banking, Finance Services and Insurance (BFSI) sectors remain preferred for women applicants, the manufacturing industry is also turning out to be a sector inclusive of women.

Big benefits but biases keep them out

In India, the percentage of women in the sector is as low as 12 percent. For many reasons, men have outnumbered women in the industry. Some of them are perceptions of hostile surroundings, risks of using machinery, and the notions of some tasks being cut out only for men.

However, there are multiple benefits of having women in the sector, as pointed out by a Deloitte study. The study of 600 women in manufacturing and 20 executives in the sector says hiring women solves the challenge of finding adequate manpower and leads to innovation and returns on equity.

The big push

Reports have revealed that a push by the government through ‘Make in India’ has opened vistas of opportunities for women in the manufacturing industry. The electronic manufacturing field, which has witnessed a cumulative growth of 23 percent in the last few years, will also include more women in the workforce in the coming years.

The global toy-making industry has more women (60 percent) in the total workforce. And that is good news with the Indian government is focusing on making the country a hub, increasing opportunities for women.

However, training and upskilling the women remain a critical factor in boosting their workforce participation, with several modules run by the private sector and the government directed at the section of  workforce.

Author Profile

Janani Sampath
Janani Sampath
With close to 15 years of experience in journalism across beats in multiple mediums, Janani Sampath is senior content writer and assistant editor, Diversity Digest.
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