Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced a campaign called Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, or Self-reliant India, to make the country and its citizens independent and self-reliant in all senses. Keeping the same spirit alive, Ola Electric chairman Bhavish Aggarwal announced the Ola Futurefactory to run entirely by women stating the reason as 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat requires Aatmanirbhar women.' Ten thousand women are aimed to be employed in the factory located in Bengaluru, Karnataka. With this initiative, Ola Futurefactory will become the 'world's largest women-only factory' and 'the only all-women automotive manufacturing facility globally'. Ola Electric is working on training and upskilling women in core manufacturing skills so that they are entirely in charge of the production process of every vehicle manufactured at the Futurefactory, Aggarwal mentioned in his blog.
Ola is joining an increasing number of Indian companies seeking to hire more women and provide more opportunities for women to start working again after career breaks. It is an excellent opportunity for women to build their careers and make a living out of them.
Skilling and training of women improve GDP.
Enabling women to access economic opportunities improves not just their lives but that of their families and, indeed, the whole community. If a woman has a job, she can earn an income - and that means peace of mind when it comes to things like healthcare, education and shelter. Moreover, if women have jobs, they can help improve the economy because they will be active participants in its growth. According to studies by the International Labour Organization (ILO), providing parity in the labour workforce has positively impacted developing countries. For example, empowering women could grow India's GDP by 27 per cent - that's possibly enough to make it one of the foremost manufacturing hubs in the world!
However, this requires active efforts from all industries and upskilling today's female workforce so that they can compete with male counterparts as full-time partners in corporate teams.
Ola campaign - Setting an example.
What OLA is aiming to do is commendable on so many levels. It may just be a start, but other prominent organizations are getting influenced by them too. Many software giants like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, and HCL have announced plans to increase the number of women in their organizations significantly. TCS and Infosys have started projects to help women in IT who had taken career breaks for some reason and now want to re-enter the workforce.
TCS is also taking a step forward in supporting women in the corporate world by providing a bid to women who previously exited the workforce for whatever reason by giving them employment opportunities at TCS. TCS named their program – Rebegin with #TheBigMove, which is currently advertising multiple job openings on their website.
But more initiatives like these will be needed to improve the country's poor record on female workforce participation. The latest data from India's Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said 17.9% of the total workforce in the quarter ended December 31, 2020, was made up solely of women, compared to 19% a year earlier, while men still accounted for 66.7%.
Saundarya Rajesh, the Founder and President of Avtar Group, a consultancy focused on workforce diversity, says that many organizations have begun to realize the substantial economic and financial benefits of an increasingly diverse workplace over the last two to three years has upon their company. 'It's not a favour anymore; there are multiple benefits which the business as a commercial entity accrues,' she says. Starting 20 years ago, Avtar helps women follow their dream careers. The organization has worked with close to 400 varied organizations and, over the years, helped them become more inclusive. Rajesh suggests that organizations should employ women for at least 40% of their workforce as it's a strategic decision towards building a more innovative business and accessing underrepresented talent pools.
By 2022, Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimated that the world's most profitable companies would be substantially more diverse than those of today. The May 2020 report titled Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters concludes that companies in the top quartile with more gender diversity within their executive ranks are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those in the fourth quartile.
In India, female workforce participation has become a big issue, almost 15% less than the global average. The reasons for not joining and staying in the workforce are primarily due to social restrictions that prevent women from doing something productive by either forbidding it or forcing them to do domestic work. Well, appreciative measures like OLA's can improve the situation now. Hopefully, more organizations will come forward to join hands in creating a successful diversified workforce in the future.