It can be noted that Tata Motors's Pune plant was the first manufacturing plant in the country to have a female engineer on its assembly line way back in April 1974 when the late JRD Tata had personally hired Sudha Murthy, the wife of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy.
"We have substantially increased the number of women in our workforce over the last four-five years and we aim to increase it to 20-25 per cent over the next four to five years," Gajendra Chandel, chief HR officer at Tata Motors told PTI today.
As of January this year, the company had 2,628 women on its rolls, of which 1,952 were on the shop-floor, which accounts for about 5 per cent of its total factory workforce of 41,390, he added.
The company employs a total of 55,159 people.
"Over the years, we have been steadily hiring more women from the campuses. This has gone up from 13 per cent in 2016 to 19 per cent in 2017 and a target of 25 per cent for 2018 batches," Chandel informed.
Blue-collared women workforce increased by 16 per cent through focused hiring from smaller towns and villages and training under the National Employability Enhancement Mission, he said, adding 70 per cent of those trained in the TML-ASDC run-skilling programme in August 2017 were women.
"We are slowly but steadily working towards building gender diversity where women work shoulder to shoulder and have the same opportunities as men anywhere in the company," Chandel said explaining the rationale for this new approach.
As part of this new HR initiative, where the objective is to have gender diversity, the Tata Group has launched 'Tata LEAD Initiative' in March 2014. This lead to a modest start by inducting five women at the assembly line of Tata Motors in Pune.
"This modest shop-floor attempt gave us very encouraging results and the stage was set with culture building, training of all on the shop-floor, mindset change, etc," Chandel said, adding later the company converted the door line and trim line II to all-women, with no compromise on productivity and quality parameters.
To take this forward and across all the plants, Tata Motors recently launched a mission to "create a brigade of Women in Blue," by enrolling, educating and skilling girls especially from economically deprived areas.
Another initiative that the company has embarked is Women@Work that encompasses all facets including support systems, policies, infrastructure, cultural and mindset change apart from getting statutory clearances wherever required.
"The agenda focuses on three pillars: Becoming an employer of choice for women, transformation of culture and mindset to create a positive cultural momentum and development and retention," said Chandel.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)