Shattering Myths on the Factory Floor
Skills training for women in India’s steel sector aims to boost participation
A batch of twenty young women from Rohtak district in Haryana have enrolled in a skills training programme in stainless steel application. The skilling programme is a one-of-its kind public-private partnership initiative led by JSL Lifestyle Limited that aims to equip young women with the skills and knowledge for enhancing their employability and helping them secure jobs in the steel industry.
- Over a four-month period, 180 young women will be trained to work at a stainless steelplant in Haryana, a state where women’s workforce participation remains low.
- The skilling programme is a one-of-its kind public-private partnership that aims to equip young women with the skills and knowledge to enhance their employability and help them secure jobs in the steel industry.
- This pilot is part of a three-year collaboration between the India Development Foundation, UNDP and Xyntéo, supported by IKEA Foundation.
Over a four-month period, these young women will be trained on both the technical and soft skills necessary to succeed in the shop floor at this steel plant, a domain almost entirely held by men. JSL Lifestyle Limited will also provide free transport facilities to and from the steel plant and free meals at the in-house cafeteria to make it as easy as possible for the women to wholeheartedly participate in the training programme.
This pilot is part of a three-year collaboration between the India Development Foundation, UNDP and Xyntéo, supported by IKEA Foundation, that seeks to positively impact the lives of one million women in India through training, entrepreneurial skill development and employment, as well as to develop a new model of public-private collaboration that can be adapted and replicated across India.
Speaking at the launch of the training, Clement Chauvet, Chief, Skills and Business Development, UNDP, said “Women are the cornerstone of development. When there is more gender parity, companies perform better.”
According to Ashish Bhatt, Managing Director, Xyntéo, “The country’s steel sector has an opportunity to demonstrate a new growth model, offering economic opportunities for women.”
Deepika Jindal, Managing Director of JSL Lifestyle Limited at Jindal Stainless Steel Limited, said “JSL is committed tocreating women-friendly spaces in its factories.”
For the first batch of trainees, it has been a long and difficult journey. Some of them undertake a three-hour commute each day, driven by the opportunity at empowerment. For many, this has meant challenging traditional norms which often don’t encourage women to step out of their homes.
Sunita is one such brave woman. She registered for the training despite strong opposition from her husband. She said, “This will help women like me become self-reliant and raise our children right.” She wants other women in her community to step out of their homes and knows they will, “once they see us earning and leading financially stable lives.”
Rajesh Chauhan quit her unrewarding job at a nuts and bolt plant to sign up for the training. “This is a lifetime opportunity for me – I can learn new technologies and explore opportunities for growth. More than just a job, this is a chance to show my community that I too am somebody and can be anybody I want to be.”
Over the course of the programme, 180 young women in the state will be skilled on stainless steel applications and be offered employment opportunities within JSL and other organizations in the steel sector.
The programme is helping women serve as role models and inspiring others in their community.