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June - 2016 - issue > CXO Insights

Widening Ocean of Opportunities for Women in Industrial Sector

Nalini Sinha, Deputy Manager HR, HMT
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Nalini Sinha, Deputy Manager HR, HMT
Headquartered in Bangalore, HMT was established in 1953 by the Government of India as a Machine Tool manufacturing company. Owing to its successful technology absorption and continuous in-house R&D, today HMT is spread across India with 18 manufacturing units and five subsidiaries including Tractors, Printing Machinery, Metal Forming Presses among others.

The World has its eyes on India, the country which in next 20 years will be the World's most populous country and also the youngest country with 50 percent of its population below 25 years. With 62 percent of its population constituting the working age population, the country is ready to reap its demographic dividend. That's encouraging. But, despite women empowerment, female literacy, employment opportunities, the women workforce amongst us is only 27 percent vis-a-vis U.S., where it's 47 percent.The rate of women's participation in workforce has plummeted from 33.7 percent in 1991 to 27 percent in 2012 which definitely is not a good sign for our promising economy. A recent Thompson Reuters study ranked India 19th, last place out of the G20 countries, on gender equity.

The situation is more worrying when it comes to the male-dominated Indian Manufacturing Sector,where a mere 20 percent of workforce is female. And worse, this figure has remained almost constant in the past 10 years due to social restrictions, our education system, poor or no efforts of organisations to build an inclusive workplace and Government policies and labour laws. These 20 percent are often regarded as additional supplementary force, largely found in jobs that are low skilled, labour intensive and repetitive.

Yes. There are Labour Laws like the Factories Act, 1948, ESI Act, 1948, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and Equal remuneration Act, 1976, Prevention & Redressal of Sexual Harassment at Workplace. Nonetheless, still women workforce in Manufacturing Sector have less access to facilities and benefits, have poor terms of conditions of work, exposed to indiscrimination, wage differentials and are devoid of occupational health and safety; given the specific needs of woman. Further, they also have inadequate and poor representation in Trade Unions, Associations, Social Dialogue Bodies and other such forums which can be used to voice out their opinion.

Why the Mere 20 percent?

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