American retail giant Amazon is now using its ‘I Have Space’ (IHS) program to ensure that more Indian women are being made a part of its countless delivery networks across the country. Amazon India’s strategy will be to partner with locals neighborhood shops for last-mile deliveries. There are lots of local store owners who have some additional space in their shops to stock Amazon orders, which get picked by the women and are then delivered to places that are closeby to the store. Amazon wants to partner with shops that are owned by women so that such store owners can earn an average of Rs 15,000-20,000 per month by allowing Amazon to use their shop space.
The extra money is a huge advantage to the women involved
Recently, Amazon revealed that they have 23,000 partners like these in India and now they want to increase the number of women in the I Have Space program so that more women can be a part of their delivery as well as the logistics network. Based in Bangalore, Usha M is one such woman entrepreneur who runs a stationery store in the Srirampura locality; she delivers about 40 orders each day and earns about Rs 20,000-Rs 22,000 a month in addition to the income from the store. For her, the extra money is a huge advantage because she can now put it away for the education of her children. Like her, many other women too are delivering packages in a 2-3 kilometer radius. “The idea is to innovate to get more women into the workforce, how to make the workforce more attractive and inclusive,” said Swati Rustagi, Director (Human Resources), Amazon India Operations. Rustagi also revealed that the company has been working hard to get connected to women in an around their fulfillment centers.
Women must feel that they have a place in society that is beyond the home
“We have set up community centers at each of our big locations and through the community centers we do a lot of work on empowering women through education, we are also teaching them skills so that they can earn a livelihood. Some of them have started working with us as suppliers or sellers and set up their own businesses like stitching bags for packaging. We are trying to get women to feel that they have a place in the society which is beyond their home,” added Rustagi. Furthermore, Amazon also wants to bring more diversity in their male-dominated fulfillment centers and over the last six years 6,000 women have been added and since many of the women come from villages, they have sensitized the men and the women so that they can work together in harmony; three years ago, there were only 60 women in their fulfillment centers. The Amazon US workforce has as many women as men and Amazon India wants to mirror these numbers and hence, they want all sections of society to be represented in the company and this also includes people who are differently-abled. Rustagi also added that after expanding its diversity and inclusion initiative, the company has found the attrition rate to be lower than before and their attendance rates have also increased.
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