Let's Celebrate Ola's All-women Factory, But That's Just a Start Female workforce participation in India ranks among the lowest out of 131 countries, according to International Labour Organization

By Ashmita Bhogal

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Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola's founder, made history when he announced an all-women workforce factory. He announced the decision through his Twitter account: "Aatmanirbhar Bharat requires Aatmanirbhar women! Proud to share that the Ola Futurefactory will be run ENTIRELY by women, 10,000+ at full scale! It'll be the largest all-women factory in the world!! "

But as we celebrate Ola's decision, let us dive into some details.

Female workforce participation in India ranks among the lowest out of 131 countries, according to International Labour Organization. Female labor force participation rate (FLFPR) "is a parameter for inclusive development of a country and this inclusive development plays a very major role in the growth of the country, as it includes development for marginalized people, sector and countries in social, political and economic processes for increased human well-being, social and environmental sustainability, and empowerment" and this FLFPR rate for India has always remained low, and in recent years it has fallen even more.

Talking about the female who are pursuing professional courses at ITI, the ratio is a meager 12 per cent, according to government data. Despite having reserved seats for female students, these seats go underutilized. According to a study by Mott Macdonald which was conducted in 2018, ITIs have around 30 per cent female enrollment only.

The proportion of apprentices in India is a mere 0.01 per cent, unlike developed countries such as Germany and Australia, where both the countries have 3.7 per cent of their workforces participating in apprenticeships. This small proportion shows that it is high time for India to take some measures to increase participation.

So, Ola's future factory is just a start.

Aggarwal has indeed done a courageous feat by planning to employ 10,000 women and making Ola the world's largest women-only factory and an all-women automotive manufacturing facility, in a country where the participation of female in sectors such as automotive and oil & gas records a minuscule less than 15 per cent, according to India Skills Report 2019.

Posting about his venture in a blog on Ola's website, Bhavish wrote, "We have invested significantly to train and upskill them in core manufacturing skills and, they will be responsible for the entire production of every vehicle manufactured at Ola Futurefactory."

Pioneering the EV revolution in India, Ola's co-founder Aggarwal wrote: "India's women will bring the EV revolution from India to the world!"

Ashmita Bhogal

Junior writer

Student at Banasthali Vidyapith, Intern at Entrepreneur India.

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