To train women for wider presence in formal employment, the Maharashtra government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Consulate-General of Sweden and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, India, to launch Kraftsmala, a collective of Swedish companies, to promote gender equality and equity. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the Magnetic Maharashtra summit Sunday by Secretary, Skill Development, Aseem Gupta and general manager of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, India, Sara Larsson.
Under Kraftsmala, training would be imparted to 110 women initially for employment in roles such as forklift drivers, warehouse supervisors and assembly operators. The training would include skills such as English language, digital literacy and team-work. The initiative will also team up with the United Nations Development Program and their venture DISHA to train one million women, a plan to be supported by the state government.
Maharashtra Skill Development Minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar said the state has the best skilled workforce in the country and this has resulted in the state attracting large FDI. “We also also included safety provisions for women in the recently amended Shops and Establishments Act,” he said.
“Today, only 27 per cent of educated women in India work in the industry, which is less than one fourth of the capacity trained. This number keeps decreasing while it is increasing at the global level. Gender equality is one of the cornerstones of Swedish society. The aim of Sweden’s gender equality policies is to ensure that everyone enjoys the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life,” said Ulrika Sundberg, Consul-General of Sweden in Mumbai, adding that the ratio of women in Swedish companies spanned from as low as 3 to about 40 per cent.
A study was conducted by the Consulate-General to understand different policies and activities of Swedish companies through their human resources and corporate social responsibility functions. It found out that the skill gap, lack of awareness of employment opportunities, patriarchal mindset and customs defining role and function of women and male dominated workplaces and non-conducive environment for women are some of the reasons for fewer women in formal employment.