A Welcome Move: Apple's Foray in India Employs Record Number of Women

A Welcome Move: Apple's Foray in India Employs Record Number of Women

By: WE Staff | Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Last week Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was all over Indian media headlines. The renowned tech leader was on his maiden visit to India to launch the much awaited first Apple retail store in India. Tim Cook also famously met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where the duo discussed about women's empowerment among other topics.

Apple launched the first Apple store with great fanfare in the country’s financial capital, Mumbai. Going forward, the tech giant is set to open more stores in prominent Indian cities including Bangalore and Delhi.

This move is another step in the direction of Apple strengthening its retail expansion in the Indian market, which is the world’s second largest smartphone market. The Indian population still sees the iPhone as an aspirational product. A large majority of Indian consumers still use smartphones that run on Google's Android platform.

Women Employment on the Rise

Recent reports suggested that Apple had plans to ship a record number of iPhone 15 models from India, post its release later this year. Apple has also increased its manufacturing capacity in India by seven percent over the last two years. As the production increased so has the number of people employed by the tech giant. This move has indirectly come as a boon for women’s employment, as more than 70 percent of Apple’s workforce in India is female.

With this, Apple has created over 1 lakh jobs in India, according to details revealed by Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Minister of State, Electronics, and IT. Based on data given by state and federal government bodies, women hold 72 percent of the ‘blue collar’ roles out of the one lakh direct jobs created by Apple, its vendors and ecosystem in the Indian operations.

A large majority of these job roles have been created over the last 20 months. The new female workforce is also brand new as for a majority of these women, this is their first employment. Most of the 70,000 women hired by Apple fall between the ages of 19 and 24, with the average age being closer to 21.

Apple’s Factories Employ more Women

The Apple ecosystem, includes the three factories that build iPhones, Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron. The tech giant also has component suppliers including Tatas, Salcomp, Avery and Jabil. Collectively the Apple ecosystem has become the country's largest single-brand hirer of women.

The Foxconn factory outperforms Pegatron and Wistron in terms of gender. The Foxconn manufacturing unit employs 30,000 women workers out of a total 35,000. Component supplier Jabil employs 4,200 women or 70 per cent of the total 6,000 employees.

Safety of women in Blue Collar jobs is Paramount

The concern for women’s safety in blue-collar jobs in India has been a matter of concern for several years now. Blue-collar jobs have traditionally been male-dominated. It was only in the past few years that we have seen a swift rise in women foraying into such job roles. It is common knowledge that women in blue-collar jobs are often subjected to rampant harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Women are also paid much lesser than their male counterparts in most blue-collar jobs.

But with the ingress of leading players such as Apple in the Indian market, the scenario is looking bright. The tech giant employing a majority of women in its blue-collar workforce is a positive step toward women’s empowerment and gender equality.  

Although concerns about women’s safety and pay parity still exist, yet we have taken a step in the right direction. Going forward, if all stakeholders such as government bodies, civil society groups, businesses and individuals come together, we can create a more equitable and safe working environment for Indian women in blue collar roles.