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On Women's Day, NTPC Launches Drive to Narrow Gender Gap but Woman Workforce Needs Attention

By: Rounak Kumar Gunjan & News18

Edited By:


Last Updated: March 08, 2021, 14:51 IST

New Delhi

 (Image credit: Reuters)

(Image credit: Reuters)

India witnessed a sharp fall in the female workforce. Close to 2 crore women quit work between 2004-05 & 2011-12, while 2.4 crore men joined in the same period.

India’s largest energy conglomerate, the state-run NTPC Ltd, seems to have realised the importance of ramping up its female workforce participation. This Women’s Day the grand-old power generator and distributor has decided to start a special recruitment drive.

“On Women’s Day, NTPC Ltd, India’s largest integrated power company, announces plans for recruiting only women executives as a special recruitment drive across its areas of operations," the state-run power giant said.

This has made NTPC the first energy company in the country to announce a recruitment drive targeted towards women.

The state-run energy company is aiming to narrow down the gender gap in key roles. According to NTPC, the initiative will strengthen gender diversity as a parameter for it, adding that the company has been working towards improving its gender ratio wherever possible.


To attract more women applicants, a number of innovative steps have been taken by the company. The application fee at the time of recruitment has been completely waived for women employees. To support the women workforce, NTPC adheres to policies like Child Care Leave with Pay, Maternity Leave, Sabbatical Leave and NTPC Special Child Care Leave on Adoption of a Child/Delivering Child through Surrogacy, the company said.

Based on Census 2011, analysed by News18, women living in urban parts of the country are involved in household chores more than their counterparts in rural areas.

According to Census 2011 data and the latest round of the National Sample Survey (NSS), rural women make up 81.29 per cent of the female workforce in India. The statistic includes both marginal and main workers. The Census describes main workers as those who are employed for most parts of the year.

Most of these women are agricultural labourers who work on someone else’s land in return for wages. Interestingly, close to 56 per cent of the employed rural women are illiterate. The number of illiterate urban working women is 28 percentage points lower.

The concern, however, is graver.

India has witnessed a steep fall in the female workforce. Close to 2 crore Indian women quit work between 2004-05 and 2011-12, while 2.4 crore men joined the workforce in the same period. The labour force participation rate for women of working age declined from 42 per cent in 1993-94 to 31 per cent in 2011-12.

The popular opinion that marriage may be the reason why women quit working does not hold ground when it comes to rural areas. According to the same sources of data, marriage did not affect workforce participation among women in villages. More married women work in these areas than unmarried women. However, urban areas displayed the age-old pattern of women quitting work after tying the knot.

In January this year, NTPC organised an online training programme on ‘gender sensitivity’.

“Gender equality is the need of the hour and one should refrain from distinguishing between male and female employees" was the central focus of the day. The interaction also centred on the safety of the female workforce in coal mining sites.

A top official at NTPC told News18 on condition of anonymity, “The transformation of the country into a world power house is intricately linked to the empowerment of our womenfolk. Recognising this fact, NTPC has a bouquet of courses and projects specially designed for the ladies of the community such as tailoring, stitching, dress designing, beautician work, and embroidery. Our focus is aimed at assisting women knowing that when the backbone of the family is strong and economically independent, the rest of the family will flourish."

Meanwhile, in 2018, NTPC had announced the launch of its first project of “Girl Empowerment Mission” campaign to empower the girl child in and around the Vindhyachal, Singrauli and Rihand projects.

“Through this unique strategic CSR initiative and to support the cause of Girl Child, NTPC aims to make every girl aware about essential education, health and self-defence programmes. There are 137 girls of Vindhyachal, 125 from Singrauli and 130 from Rihand participating in a four-week Residential Workshop in the respective Employee Development Centres,” NTPC had said in an official statement.

However, a March 2018 Scope-ILO study named ‘Women in Leadership and Management in Public Sector Undertakings in India’ identified four problem areas that still need addressing in Indian PSUs with regards to women’s career advancement to leadership and management positions.

“Lack of recognition of women as a talent pool, lack of career and succession planning, lack of responsive and sensitive mechanisms, non-recognition of gender diversity as a strategic issue," the report said.

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first published:March 08, 2021, 13:49 IST
last updated:March 08, 2021, 14:51 IST