In celebration of Women’s Day this month, it’s crucial to acknowledge the pathbreaking strides women have been making in the field that once was considered off-limits for them. They have come a long way from making a foray into the industry to assuming leadership roles and redefining the norms. Here are two cents from some significant women leaders who have not just risen to success but have worked toward making the manufacturing arena gender inclusive.

According to an analysis of government data by the Center for Economic Data and Analysis (CEDA) at Ashoka University, only 1.6 million women in India are working in manufacturing. Women make up around 20 percent of India’s factory workers, a share that has remained the same over the past two decades, according to CEDA. To check this, many companies have made it their agenda to increase gender diversity in their workforce. Some have introduced assembly lines that are entirely run by women. To further bolster this positive change, it’s crucial we learn from the following torchbearers for gender equality in manufacturing and make the space more empowering for women.

Ace Designers Ltd


Required skill sets in manufacturing

I would classify the skills required in manufacturing into two broad categories, technical and personal skills. Under technical skills, I believe that proficiency in one or more technical aspects of manufacturing is essential. Added to this, a general understanding of allied technologies is also critical. As we progress into the 5th Industrial Revolution, adapting to digitalization through technologies like IoT, AI, and big data analytics will also become necessary.

Some personal skills to consciously develop are problem-solving, critical thinking, continuous learning, effective communication, and time management.

Self-care comes first

More than advice, I would like to share some thoughts based on my experience. First and foremost, in addition to developing domain expertise, young women should learn to be confident and assertive. They should not hesitate to speak their mind and share their ideas. Women should also work on building a network of like-minded peers and mentors who can help them navigate their careers in a male-dominated industry like manufacturing.

Executive Director
Ace Designers Ltd

Managing work-life balance is essential for everyone and more so for young women. One must clearly define boundaries both in their personal and professional life and should learn to set realistic expectations of themselves. Women should also prioritize self-care and learn to delegate.

Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India


Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA)
Chairperson & Managing Director
Subros Ltd

Automation and Robotics have made the sector inclusive

The Manufacturing sector, propelled by the rise of automation and robotics, has become increasingly inclusive. As technical skills take center stage like never before, the job roles in the Manufacturing sector are becoming more and more gender-agnostic. The ability to embrace innovation, navigate complex supply chains, and lead teams with agility are critical attributes that drive growth and resilience in this evolving sector.

Technical know-how crucial for women

To the young women entering the manufacturing space, it’s crucial to focus on acquiring technical know-how and keeping abreast of advancements towards Industry 4.0. This transformative integration of digital technologies into manufacturing is revolutionizing the workplace and enabling more women to join the sector. The focus should be on embracing continuous learning, seeking mentorship, and developing skills in areas such as digitalization, automation, and sustainability. In today’s age, women not only excel but also inspire positive change, shaping the future of manufacturing in profound and lasting ways.


Electropneumatics & Hydraulics India Pvt Ltd


Honing the needed skills

The requirements defined by a job profile (technical, behavioral, etc.) are the skills any person venturing into the manufacturing world needs to have, be it a man or woman. Women should first believe in themselves and have the confidence that they can hold their own in a largely male-centric manufacturing industry. Having strong engineering skills and qualifications is certainly an advantage. Additionally, impressive communication and interpersonal skills, and an attitude of self-learning and upgrading oneself as per the demands of the industry are always beneficial.

Earlier women would not consider a career in manufacturing since it was considered a predominantly male-dominated sector. Also, the picture painted of manufacturing was about heavy-duty shop floor work, oily machines, and late/long working hours. But today there is much more to a manufacturing role for a woman. And it has been realized that it can be interesting and enjoyable too.

Ingrid Rasquinha
Jt Managing Director
Electropneumatics & Hydraulics India Pvt Ltd

Naturally gifted

While it is understood that one should have the requisite skills demanded by the job, women can make an additional marked difference with their unique skills. They often are more organized and detail-oriented, have better problem-solving skills, are good at multitasking, and are more creative. They also bring a valuable emotion quotient to the workplace.

There is nothing that should stop a woman from stepping into the manufacturing sector, be it in design, production, planning, sales, finance, sourcing, marketing communications, HR, and more. In fact, as a woman, we have a great advantage of being noticed and making a mark.

One should aim high and refrain from selling themselves short. One should not let bias influence their decision. The common conundrum for women is the guilt factor – family or work. Women can do justice to both. It is tough but every woman should give equal priority to themselves and their personal goals as they do to their societal and familial commitments, without feeling guilty.

With the world moving towards inclusivity and more women empowerment, workplaces are also becoming sensitive to the needs of women. The number of women in the Manufacturing industry has been steadily rising over the years, and they are being welcomed too. So, we need to primarily break the barriers we form in our own minds.

Most companies, and certainly Electropneumatics are consciously working towards engaging and mentoring more women to consider manufacturing as a career path, encouraging them to rise to the top, and providing opportunities for it.

My journey of 27 years in the Machine Tool manufacturing sector has been wonderful and gratifying. There have been a few impediments along the way (the biggest being motherhood), but I have been blessed with a father, brother and husband who supported me unconditionally and pushed me at every step.

There is no better time than now to step into the growing manufacturing sector, especially in India. The opportunities are encouraging and inviting.


Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association


Mohini Kelkar
Vice-President, Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA)
Managing Director, Grind Master Machines Pvt Ltd

 Stress on automation

The Manufacturing sector in India has substantially evolved in the past 20 years. Due to the influx of manufacturing new products, the demands on the components made in the Manufacturing sector have increased substantially in terms of part accuracy, productivity, and quality standards. The parts that had a 3-triangle finish earlier are now demanding a 4-triangle finish.

The predictability of delivery time and the quality of parts have substantially improved. With the rise in exports from India, there is stress on the traceability of defects and defect-free manufacturing. This has made Industry 4.0 systems or IoT or similar kinds of tracking systems important for tracking parts throughout the entire manufacturing process. Automation has become a norm even with MSMEs. Therefore, the knowledge of automation systems in any manufacturing set-up has become important.

Hence, it is important to be skilled at and acquire knowledge in manufacturing technology that includes machines, manufacturing processes, tools, types of automation systems, and IoT. Robust manufacturing can be achieved when the right machines and processes are in place.

Manufacturing, right for young women

Currently, the Manufacturing sector is highly conducive for young women. The opportunities in the sector are increasing manifold. The demand for skilled manpower has also escalated, which the male community is not fulfilling. Secondly, with automation coming into the picture, the demand for manual work has diminished. Hence, the criterion for physical strength is no longer valid, making women on par with men.

Sandvik Coromant


Manufacturing has a place for experts

There is no denying that digital skills are not only increasingly competitive but also crucial. Today, the most valuable of skills required are those that are transferable to a whole range of industries benefitting from digital transformation.

It’s important to recognize the pace at which the manufacturing sector constantly evolves. For companies to succeed as they embrace digitalization, they are actively seeking those with digital skills that can contribute to the adoption of advanced technologies, improve operational efficiency, and drive innovation. Harnessing these skills requires a diverse approach, with problem-solving and critical thinking at the center. Manufacturing is not how it was first perceived — a physical, hazardous environment — and there truly is a place for every type of expert.

Helen Blomqvist
Sandvik Coromant

Courage is the key

According to socio-economic surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), women make up less than 20 percent of the workforce in India. While this is generally viewed as a cause for concern, one could instead see this as an opportunity.

One only has to look at women in leadership roles to know that anything is possible. Be brave, be curious, and don’t fear mistakes and rejection. We learn from experiences and grow when we are uncomfortable. Women are worthy of their place in male-dominated environments like manufacturing; we just have to be courageous enough to show it.


Poonam Pednekar

Chief Copy Editor

Magic Wand Media Inc

  Facebook   Twitter   Linkedin   Subscribe