How TN Surpassed Women's Workforce Participation National Average

Tamil Nadu, with over 40% of India's female manufacturing workforce is pioneering gender diversity. From traditional industries to emerging sectors, companies in the state are now making spaces for women to thrive.

Oshi Saxena
New Update
female workers

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Tamil Nadu, a stalwart in India's manufacturing landscape, stands out as a hope for women's empowerment in the industrial sphere. With over 40% of the entire female workforce in the country's manufacturing sector hailing from this state, it's not just a statistic but a setting example for the boldness and courage of Tamil Nadu's women.


According to the Annual Survey of Industries in 2019-20, a staggering 43% of the 15.8 lakh women working in industries across India are in Tamil Nadu. This state's women's workforce participation rate surpasses the national average, as highlighted by the Periodic Labour Force Survey for July 2022–June 2023.

Sectors Driving Growth

Traditionally, the leather, textile, and automobile industries have been significant employers of women in Tamil Nadu. However, with the rise of electric vehicles, solar cell manufacturing, electronics, and footwear sectors, the state's share in women's employment is poised to climb higher.

Pioneering Initiatives

Titan's Efforts

In the late 1980s, Titan Company Limited, in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu government and the Tata Group, embarked on a revolutionary journey of integrating women into the workforce. Overcoming cultural barriers, early marriages, and safety concerns, Titan provided comprehensive training covering essential life skills, fostering not just employment but empowerment.


Ola's Future Factory: A Paradigm Shift

Ola's Future Factory is rewriting the narrative in automobile manufacturing. Anshul Khandelwal, CMO of Ola, emphasizes the deliberate decision to bring about change by recognizing the productivity and quality that women bring to the workplace. Competitive wages, inclusive policies, and a commitment to equality contribute to the success of this initiative.

Ashok Leyland and Bosch: Setting Examples

Ashok Leyland's all-women production line and Bosch's manufacturing facilities in Tamil Nadu further underscore the industry's commitment to gender diversity. These companies showcase that women can excel not only in supervisory roles but also in critical areas like production, quality control, and supply chain management.

Creating a Supportive Ecosystem

The bustling cities of Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, cultivate a robust support framework that nurtures high female workforce participation. A well-knit urban infrastructure, secure transport, quality education facilities, crèches, accommodation, and healthcare collectively create an environment conducive to women's employment.


State initiatives, including residential schooling, financial assistance, and modern hostels, play a pivotal role in narrowing the gender gap. These measures empower women, enabling active participation in the workforce and fostering a culture of inclusivity.

Overcoming Challenges

Despite significant strides, challenges persist, particularly in accepting women as leaders. Collaborative endeavors between industrial clusters and educational institutions become linchpins in providing internships, part-time work, and educational support to women, curbing migration.

While constitutional protection exists, challenges in implementing gender discrimination provisions persist. Addressing issues like the absence of laws treating sex discrimination as sexual harassment requires collaborative efforts between industries, the legal system, and government bodies.

Paving the Way Forward for Other States

To replicate Tamil Nadu's success, states can embark on a journey of collaboration, starting with industry and educational partnerships. Initiatives like Titan's comprehensive training, Ola's inclusive policies, and government support must serve as a blueprint. Cultivating a supportive ecosystem with well-networked infrastructure, secure transport, and educational facilities ensures a conducive environment for women's employment. Legislative reforms addressing gender discrimination and proactive measures to bridge the gender gap will be the keystones for a nationwide revolution in empowering women in the manufacturing sector.


Tamil Nadu's manufacturing sector is not just an economic powerhouse but a model for gender diversity and women's empowerment. As industries continue to evolve, embracing the potential of women is not just a choice; it's a strategic imperative for success.

Suggested reading: Unseen Hands: The Invisible Labour Of Women In Our Economy

Tamil Nadu Women in workforce women in the manufacturing industry Women Workforce Participation