It’s the 21st century and it still is difficult being a woman in India. Now before you contest that thought because you were fortunate enough to get the equal opportunities throughout, do consider the skewed concept of male superiority that does not allow a lot of women the same fortune as you. There is not enough representation of women in any sector of work force even, except agriculture, where women have to break their backs on the field apart from the household chores that they are assigned.

Wall Street Journal recorded that this female workforce which remains untapped has caught the fast-food chains eyes. It says, “American fast-food chains have become an unlikely source of female employment and empowerment in India”.

Wall Street Journal
Picture Credit: Wall Street Journal

According to Catalyst, an organisation that works towards gender inclusivity at work reports that the labour force participation rate for women is actually falling considerably.

More Women Work in Rural India Than in Cities 

Overall, the labour force participation rate for women is falling: from 37% in 2004-05 to 29% in 2009-10.

  • In 2011-2012, women comprised 24.8% of all rural workers, down from 31.8% in 1972-73.
  • In 2011-2012, women comprised 14.7% of all urban workers, a small increase from 13.4% in 1972-73.
  •  13.4% of Indian working women have a regular salaried job compared to  21.2% of working men (aged 15–59).

There are several reasons given for this decreasing rate in labour force; informal sector especially threatens women’s safety and gives them no assurance of a employer who will address their fears and tribulations.

The American Fast Food chains have in fact opened an employment door for such women who are skilled and can attend to customers post proper training that meets the brand’s standards. Females are believed to be more customer-friendly, loyal and make for great brand representatives, and beyond gender diversity, these are skills that the employers are looking for.

What are these employers doing differently to attract women employees?

Burger King Corp. teaches self-defense to its women while Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell run a mentorship program to help women become managers. Dominos Pizza Inc. has gender sensitization classes for new recruits. Some outlets let all-female crews run the morning shifts so they can wrap up before dark.

These initiatives help parents feel secure about sending their daughters to a work environment which they deem safe. It also conveys a message that the employees are treated with respect and the organization is helping them achieve new goals. Often women employees are the sole bread earner in their family and these gender empowering policies help them grow further in their career.