Mumbai : The Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai and Swedish Chamber of Commerce launched a pilot project called Kraftsamla at the Magnetic Maharashtra, aimed to skill and train women from all walks of life in particular underprivileged to create readily employable women for the industry, build value chains, and transform eco-systems in Maharashtra.
Present at the launch were also representatives of the Maharashtra Government and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Maharashtra State Skills Development Society and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. “We are working in diff sectors in terms of skill development. Maharashtra has a maximum number of women entrepreneurs who need to be encouraged. GDP of the country will also boost if we encourage these women by channelizing their potential. All we need to do is to bridge the gap and connect the women who want to work and the companies who need the workforce. This MoU with Swedish Chamber of Commerce India (SCCI) is the right step ahead to achieving this” said Sambhaji Nilangekar, Minister for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship.
To create a baseline for this project, a study was carried out by the Consulate General to understand different policies and activities Swedish companies today undertake through their human resources and corporate social responsibility functions with respect to strengthening capacity of women, employing, promoting, and retaining women with the company, as well as promoting skilling and gainful employment of women in Maharashtra. Speaking on the pilot project, Consul General of Sweden Ms. Ulrika Sundberg said, “Today only 27%of educated women in India work in the industry, which is less than one fourth of the capacity trained. This number currently keeps decreasing while globally women are increasing their presence in the job market. The equivalent in China is 63% and in Sweden 83%.”
The skill gap, lack of awareness of employment opportunities, patriarchal mindset and customs defining the role and function of women and male dominated workplaces and non-conducive environments for women are some of the reasons identified behind this disparity.
The study further found that there is a lack of women in senior positions. Notably, just over half of the companies have female leaders at the country- or vice president level, and none of the companies interviewed is run by a woman in India. The study points out that there is an overall lack of female role models.
The chief goal for ‘Kraftsamla’ is to bring the collective of Swedish companies to join hands to practically promote gender equality and equity. Women empowerment ignites catalytic processes, changing eco-systems on micro and macro level, and have a generational impact. Including more women in the workforce has the potential to increase the GDP of the country by 60% (approximately 7 billion USD).
The first trainings under the project will be for 110 women for roles as forklift drivers, warehouse supervisors and assembly operators. The trainings will include skills such as English, digital literacy and team work, as well as a paid internship program. We are teaming up with UNDP and their program DISHA, which aims to train one million women and the government of Maharashtra that will support this project, for example by providing infrastructure.
General Manager of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Sara Larsson commented “Kraftsamla” means to join our forces in Swedish. This is a project with high potential, energy, and creativity, as we are asking companies from several different sectors to work together to impact eco-systems in the place they have their operations. We must pursue gender equality and equity whole-heartedly if we are serious about building a sustainable future for all.”
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