Avneet Singh Marwah, CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd.

Avneet Singh Marwah is the Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd. based out of Noida. He is involved in the Business Development and Research and Development of products.  After completing his MBA, Avneet trained in Switzerland and Australia, in various sectors like Banking, manufacturing etc. He has also addressed the state minister of Parliament, Canberra Australia. Prior to joining SPPL, Avneet worked with CPR Capital Services Limited, where he learnt capital investment skills. Avneet is a basketball player and is really passionate about sports. He thinks that keeps him competitive and motivated. Innovative and young, Avneet feels one should always develop a product that one would buy. Market research and consumer behavior has become fundamental for the organization before pitching any product.  With this kind of thought process Avneet wants to introduce more technology centered televisions in India.He believes in the progress of the country and that we should be second to no one and which is why he wholeheartedly supports the Make in India  or Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

 

When we think of successful manufacturing companies, we probably think of industries that have optimized their efficiency, developed quality products, and focused on service delivery. Whilst this is true, it is also worth noting that the role of inclusivity and diversity is of growing importance in these businesses. Like any other sphere here also, the participation of women is critical in driving industrial growth too. 

COVID-19 pandemic has, had an overall disproportionate negative impact on women’s income, health and security, and a “magnified problem” of the care burden, which has precluded them from re-joining the workforce, globally. With 1.4 billion children sent back home from schools and childcare facilities, it is women who are taking the brunt of the pandemic, be it ‘School from Home’ , to the routine ‘Chores of Domesticity’ or even supporting the family recuperate from the ‘mental setback’ of the crisis, other than their own ‘work from home’ or ‘work at home’ !  

Any conversations around increasing the competitiveness of any country without looking at women’s involvement is merely an echo in a hollow chamber. These are no longer just ‘good conversations’; but urgent messages, that measures &  actions needs to be taken. 

World-over, women have already done more than 2.5 times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men.  A McKinsey study shows women’s jobs being 1.8 times more vulnerable to the crisis than men’s jobs. While women make up 39 per cent of global employment, they account for 54 per cent of overall job losses; which has spurt a big ‘Economic Insecurity’ leading to a ‘Shecession’, of the sorts. However Indian manufacturing sector is unfolding a different story; as per a recent report India’s EMS (Electronic manufacturing services) sector has registered a 23 percent cumulative annual growth rate over the past few years. 

With the Government’s thrust to “Make in India,” new opportunities are emerging across manufacturing sectors. Although, the industry is currently facing a skillset gap as a large chunk of this talented women workforce remains untapped. Technology and globalization is transforming job opportunities in manufacturing industries to a highly skilled profession, which is posing a unique challenge.  This is compelling Electronic Manufacturers to take a different approach to recruit, retain and support women move fast track their growth in the sector. Women are making strides in steering growth of the global manufacturing sector. They are also demonstrating that manufacturing is a fulfilling career with limitless opportunities. As a country we need to equip, mentor, and build women who will start businesses in the sector as well as take up decision-making positions. 

Our aspiration as an country must be to see more women participate in the sector in senior leadership roles, as owners and founders, and for young girls to see themselves as future industrialists. The onus is on us, as industrialists / manufacturers to adapt the processes and cultures of this sector, such that it attract and retain more women. Here, the first critical step is to understand women’s representation in the sector, address the challenges they face, and seal gaps that inhibit their participation. So let’s begin with some numbers; while women make up over 55% of the global labour force, they make up only 22% of the manufacturing labour force.

The Indian MSMEs sector contribute 29% towards the GDP through its national and international trade; of this only 12% employ, 27.3 million females. Over the past year, organisations have been making efforts to bring more women as skilled labour into traditionally male-dominated sectors—automobiles, mining and heavy engineering. Tata Steel, for instance, hired 38 female heavy earthmoving machinery operators at its mines in Jharkhand’s West Bokaro and Noamundi as part of its [email protected] programme. Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages is in the process of setting up a factory in West Bengal’s Siliguri, which will be 60% female. Daimler India Commercial Vehicles hired 46 women at its Oragadam truck and bus manufacturing complex in Chennai earlier this year as part of a diversity and inclusion plan. In September, Ola Electric said it would hire 10,000 women to run its all-women electric two-wheeler manufacturing unit in Hosur, Tamil Nadu.

Internationally many countries are coming forward and running dedicated programmes like ‘Women in Manufacturing’ (WIM) with an aim to grow an enabling environment and platform to network and improve their competitiveness locally, regionally, and globally. 

Here I seek to address some points, to provide an essential foundation to for enabling environment that will encourage increased participation of women in the industry. 

First and foremost, let’s focus on developing transformative models and standards that address workplace gender gaps. Let us begin by strengthening and  amplifying the voices of women in manufacturing for policy advocacy and change. 

  1. By, leading private sector public policy dialogue that is integrative, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of women in manufacturing . 
  2. Supporting formalisation of informal women-owned SMEs in manufacturing. 
  3. Building strategic partnerships with academic and technical training institutions to improve the curricula and training courses. 
  4. Facilitating individual companies with toolkits that provide clear guidance and indicators to gender mainstreaming and diversity in manufacturing processes and management. 
  5. Developing an incubation platform for women-owned manufacturing businesses to scale up and realize their potential 
  6. Carrying out periodic assessments of the challenges faced by informal and micro-small enterprises in the manufacturing sector to generate data for decision-making.

As for now the issue at hand is far more grave and concerning. It is to undertake measures that help in ‘inclusion of women back to work’. Be it through digital literacy, up-skilling or reskilling, providing subsidised childcare, social protection schemes, flexible working hours , it’s upon both the Government and Private sector to achieve an equal-future in a post-pandemic world. It is an opportunity for us to look at ways to assure level-playing fields to almost half the country’s population. As India is on its way to become the youngest country in the world by 2022 with a median age of 29, it is time for us to also evolve the cultural norms to become a not only ‘young’ but ‘progressive’ nation. World Economic Forum’s  Global Gender Gap Report 2020 shows just how much work there is still to be done to achieve gender equality, as the report suggests it would take a further 99.5 years to achieve gender parity across the globe. So, none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children. Now that’s some sobering finding ! 

According to Debjani Ghosh, President of Nasscom, “Added flexibility to work will certainly improve women’s participation in the workforce. But it could also increase pressure to simultaneously deliver on the home front. “If work-from-anywhere has to succeed, then “the mindset that women have to work as well as single-handedly manage home has to change.”

To conclude,  I would like to add that let’s not forget that 70 % of world’s poor are women (According to UNDP). It’s high time that we now, turn our wounds into wisdom and not allow COVID’19 or any further cultural norm or diktats set women back by years or decades; instead let’s stand whole-heartedly and help her bounce back.

“ Come together for new beginnings; keep together for progress and work together for success” 

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