Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) in association with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) South Asia organised a forum on – ‘Gender Equality in Manufacturing Sector’. This initiative by ACF and GRI SA is to draw attention to women’s empowerment, and the opportunities in the manufacturing sector in order to advance gender equality and inclusive development.
McKinsey Global Institute (2015) reported that if India increases its female labour force participation rate to 10% by 2025, its GDP could rise exponentially by 16% as compared to the current business situation. The majority of women are underrepresented in manufacturing and the argument to increase the industry’s fair share of female talent is persuasive, however, one factor is certain: Manufacturing companies need a different approach towards recruiting, retaining, and advancing women in the workplace irrespective of their backgrounds.
India had adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. The country’s laws have provided opportunities to foster female interest in the industry and to exemplify the potential that exists for women in this sector. However, there’s still a long road ahead. To successfully achieve the SDGs, partnerships between the government and private sector are required. Therefore, ACF in collaboration with GRI South Asia aims to inspire the next generation of female leaders to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry and showcase the amazing opportunities that the industry has to offer.
The forum was witnessed by notable speakers from the industry including René VAN BERKEL, Representative UNIDO, UNIDO Regional Office India, Rubana Huq, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association, Dr. Aditi Haldar, Director, GRI South Asia, Suhas Joshi, Head of Sustainability and Business Stewardship, South Asia Bayer Group, Pratima Kirloskar, Promoter Group, Kirloskar Brothers Limited and Magali Anderson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Lafarge Holcim.
Pearl Tiwari, Director and CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation shared certain important observations with regards to women in the manufacturing sector. She said, “The issue of gender equality in workforce has been discussed at a global level. The participation of women is lesser in the developing countries – problems such as wage gap, skill gap exists. Manufacturing industry is a vital sector for the development of any economy. This sector is mostly male dominated. Therefore, manufacturers need to rethink their hiring strategies. Diversity and inclusion are imperative for us in building a peaceful and prosperous society.”
Dr. Aditi Haldar, Director, GRI South Asia also threw light on the gender gap. She said, “We as a society need to come up with affirmative steps and a legal framework to create a safe working space for women. The mindsets, notions, and practices need to change which will help to create equitable workplaces.”
Together ACF and GRI SA along with the government and other organisations are creating opportunities for women where they are welcomed with dignity and respect.