A city for women: Hyderabad 4th among top women-friendly cities, Chennai tops list

08:30 AM Jan 06, 2023 | Nimisha S Pradeep

Hyderabad: Hyderabad emerged fourth among the million plus population cities in the country, according to a first-of-its-kind report prepared by Avatar group, pioneers in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consulting.

The city secured a City Inclusion Score of 62.47. Chennai, Pune, and Bangalore ranked first, second, and third with a City Inclusion Score of 78.41, 69.44, and 64.48, respectively. Mumbai, with a City Inclusion Score of 61.11, ranked fifth among the 111 cities surveyed.

The City Inclusion Score is a composite of Social Inclusion Score (SIS) and Industrial Inclusion Store (IIS). The Social Inclusion Score (SIS) comprises social factors (quality of life, women's safety, women's representation in the workforce and women's empowerment initiatives) that influence the city to be women-friendly. Industrial Inclusion Score (IIS) evaluates the extent to which organisations in the city across industries are inclusive of women.

The report, which is the culmination of a year-long exercise, is an algorithmic assimilation of data from over 200 sources, including current ease of living index, Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), national census, crime records, National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Ministry of Women and Child Development's annual report, the IMF, as well as Avtar's primary research with employer organisations and women, to arrive at a comprehensive City Inclusion Score.

Only nine out of the 111 cities have scored above 50 in their City Inclusion Scores. The capital cities of many states did not feature in the top 25 spots.

"While state capitals receive a lot of attention—politically, socio-economically, environmentally, and developmentally—their absence in the top 25 necessitates a deeper probe from the side of policymakers to understand the barriers faced by the state capitals in being inclusive for women professionals," read the report.

Cities like Delhi, Nagpur, Aurangabad, and Faridabad have a social inclusion ranking that is lower than the industrial inclusion ranking. Whereas cities like Puducherry, Visakhapatnam, Surat, and Bilaspur have a high social inclusion score with a low industrial inclusion ranking. Cities with high social inclusion scores, which refer to the extent of safety, women-oriented initiatives, and a general sense of ability to live and raise families (which are critical to women) have good potential for corporates to expand and set up operations here thereby attracting a larger pool of diverse talent, said the report.

Speaking at the launch of the study, Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, founder–president of Avtar Group, said, "The fact that the South and West regions are more women-friendly in terms of employment is not a surprise, given the politico-historic context of these regions. The rise of cities like Hubli, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, and Coimbatore as promising hubs of women's employment, due to their high Industrial Inclusion scores is very heartening. Metros like Delhi and Kolkata have fallen behind in terms of social inclusion due to lower standards of safety and poor enablers for women to pursue employment."

The study also highlighted the key inclusion measures that are required to increase women's workforce participation.