Every two-wheeler that will come out of the Ola Electric Futurefactory at Hosur in Tamil Nadu will have a woman’s touch. Ola CEO and founder Bhavish Aggarwal announced on Monday that, in a first of its kind in the auto manufacturing world, 10,000 women would be employed at the Futurefactory.

Announcing this on Twitter, Aggarwal said, “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!! Met our first batch, inspiring to see their passion!”

With the announcement of a 100 per cent women-run facility, Ola scales a new high in companies employing a female-centric workforce. At consumer electronics firm Xiaomi’s factories in India, 95 per cent of the workforce is women.

Ola said it has invested significantly in training and upskilling its first batch of women recruits in core manufacturing expertise. The 500-acre manufacturing facility will have the capacity to produce 10 million electric scooters annually.

Dipping participation

The Ministry of Statistics periodic labour force survey for the October-December 2020 quarter noted that labour force participation rate (LFPR) of women was 20.6 per cent. Whereas the worker-population ratio, or the percentage of employed women in the population, stood at 17.9 per cent for the period. According to the World Bank, female labour participation rate in India has dropped from 26 per cent in 2005 to 20.79 per cent in 2019 compared to 36.37 per cent in Bangladesh and 33.7 per cent in Sri Lanka.

Saundarya Rajesh, founder president of Avtar, a diversity and inclusion strategy firm, said that what Ola is doing is not only a clarion call for all start-ups to take the bold decision of creating a women majority workplace (above 60 per cent) but also a nation building activity in the truest sense of the word.

More inclusive work force

According to Rajesh, “Some of the benefits of having a workplace that is more than 60 per cent women includes a safer workplace for women, better problem-solving skills, greater customer centricity and a motivated workforce wanting to go above and beyond the call of duty.”

Interestingly, Ola said its move is the first in a series of initiatives to create a more inclusive workforce and provide economic opportunities for women across the board. “Increasing women participation in the labour workforce requires active and conscious efforts from all of us, especially in manufacturing where participation remains the lowest at just 12 per cent,” Aggarwal noted in a company blog.

Just last month, Ola Electric launched its keyless electric two-wheeler scooter, priced at ₹99,999 (ex-showroom price in Karnataka, including FAME II) . Initially scheduled to start the sale from September 8, Ola Electric had to postpone the sale process of its electric scooter S1 by a week as it faced “technical difficulties” in making the website for purchases live for customers on Wednesday.

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