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Continental India Launches Initiative To Boost Women Workforce Participation

Manufacturing has been historically stereotyped as unsuitable for women, and over the years resulted in an under-representation of women in this field

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Technology company Continental India on Thursday said it has launched an initiative to boost women workforce participation in manufacturing, in association with Centrum Foundation through various skill development programmes.

As part of this CSR initiative, 'The STEP Ahead' will provide transformative steps to accelerate growth for women in science, technology, engineering, and production with the first year of the programme focusing on three target groups – high school girls, ITI students, and unemployed women from underprivileged sections of society, Continental India said in a release.

After phase-1 of the roll-out, which includes Bengaluru and Gurugram, the programme will be extended to other industry hubs in a phased manner, it said.

Manufacturing has been historically stereotyped as unsuitable for women, and over the years resulted in an under-representation of women in this field, the company said.

Lack of awareness and limited access to skill development programmes, among others, have all contributed to these misconceptions and underrepresentation, it added.

Continental's programme aims to nurture and inspire girls and women to better understand this industry, have access to resources and learning, and to consider manufacturing as a career option.

The company said awareness campaigns, curriculum development, certification, leadership development programmes, plant tours, among others, are planned as part of skill development.

It also aims to create a two-way link between the industries/establishments and colleges, to utilise the trained students for internships and placements.

The programme will also have associations with various governmental and non-governmental organisations and industry bodies as necessary.

According to Prashanth Doreswamy, Head of Continental India, and Managing Director Continental Automotive India, “manufacturing continues to be a high-growth sector in India, and we need to build the right resource pool to match such an ambitious intent.” He said the women for manufacturing programme is Continental's commitment to prepare and mobilise untapped women talent, towards achieving a more gender-balanced manufacturing society.

Centum Foundation will be the implementation partner for this multi-year programme that will eventually build a sustainable model of skill development, empowerment, guidance, and placement support that would help more women find a place in manufacturing, eventually benefitting the sector, the release stated.

“At Continental, we are persistently working to ensure gender parity at the workplace, especially in areas underrepresented by women talent.

Focused measures and topics including learning initiatives, sensitising programmes, mentoring, leadership development programmes, and equal pay are in place for women across different levels,” said Rainer Hetzer, Head of human relations autonomous mobility and safety, and HR sponsor for Continental India.

Now is the time to apply the same goal for the larger society. Through the women for manufacturing programme, the company aims to create a sustainable ecosystem of skilled women force, creating more opportunities within the industry, he added The company has been present in India for close to 50 years, through technology partnerships and joint ventures for various businesses.