India has one of the world’s most lopsided female participation rates in its labor force, an imbalance global chains want to change as they establish foothold in the world’s second-most populous nation.
A Wall Street Journal article outlines how fast-food chains have become an unlikely source of female empowerment and employment.
Here is a look at the numbers behind the country’s female workforce.
Less Than One Third
Only 27% of India’s workforce is female, far below the world average of 50%, according to the World Bank. Tanzania has the highest percentage of women in its workforce, at 88%, while Syria has the lowest, at 14%.
A vast majority of India’s working women–about 63%–are employed as helpers on farms. Women typically account for less than one in five employees in sectors outside agriculture.
It is hardest to find women in the transportation sector in India, partly because families shield their daughters and sisters from traveling alone and forbid them from activities that may involve late nights, such as trucking. Only 1% of India’s transport sector is made up of women.
At Least One Third
At least one in three employees working for a global food chain in India is female. American fast-food chains offer female-only shifts, self-defense classes, mentoring programs and parents’ lunches to draw more women into their stores and convince their families they are a safe place to work. Having 30% workers as women may not seem particularly high, but that’s more than twice the average for the food-service industry in India, where only 14% workers are female.