Nisha Rani joined Swaraj Tractors at the end of 2019. She works on the assembly line and says it was the best decision of her life. The same goes for Santoshi Miyan, who works in the light machine shop and says Swaraj Tractors is her second home.MG Motors recently rolled out its 50,000th Hector from its plant in Halol, Gujarat, which was made entirely by women – from panel-pressing of sheet metal, to welding and paint jobs and post-production test runs.“Glass ceilings no longer exist even in an erstwhile male-dominated industry such as automobile manufacturing,” said Rajeev Chaba, managing director of MG Motor India. “We believe that it will inspire more women to join the automotive industry in India and abroad.”Today, women are making their presence felt on shopfloors making cars, tractors, trucks and precision components as companies including Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, MG Motor, Daimler India, Motherson Group and Toyota seek to accelerate gender diversity.MG Motor has 380 women working on the shopfloor, which is 33% of its overall shopfloor headcount, and it aims to increase this to 50%.Swaraj Tractors, a division of M&M, employs over 72 women on the shopfloor, which is about 4% of the total staff strength. At Swaraj, women work in the core areas of tractor manufacturing including part assemblies and subassemblies, machining & painting, inventory management, heat treatment, tool room and product quality.“We hire women at the entry level on the shopfloor and groom them in various operations and processes,” said Harish Chavan, CEO of M&M’s Swaraj Division.Daimler India Commercial Vehicles has hired 46 women at its Oragadam facility near Chennai. The new employees have been deployed across engine and transmission, cab trim and quality management.Tata Motors has women working across all shopfloor functions from the paint shop to the final assembly line, where they perform various roles based on their knowledge, skills and experience, including as supervisors in assembly, quality, inspection, material kitting and maintenance.The participation of blue-collared women workers has grown progressively since 2016-17 and Tata Motors currently has over 1,800 women working on the shopfloor across all plants, a company spokesperson said. The Prima truck assembly line in Jamshedpur has an all-woman section working on the fitting and testing of electrical components. In Pune, Tata Motors has about 650 women working on the shopfloor.Toyota Kirloskar Motor has women employees in production support and engineering functions in the general shift, a spokesperson said. It is working to create a talent pool through a pilot batch of girl students currently training at the Toyota Technical Training Institute in vocational courses such as automotive fitter and assembly trade. Since last year, Toyota Kirloskar has been setting aside 8% of the seats at the institute for girls, the spokesperson said.Women are driving innovation and engagement and are contributing to the high performance of the Motherson Group, chairman VC Sehgal said.According to experts, the meticulous nature of women results in fewer faults in production. Women have expertise in quality-related areas and also the paint shop.Initially, when MG Motor visited nearby villages to hire women for the shopfloor, people were sceptical. After training, the performance of women was found to be at par with their male colleagues and even better in some areas, Chaba said.The inclusion of women has improved the culture and discipline on the shopfloor because female associates are keener on punctuality, process adherence and following guidelines, said Chavan of Swaraj. Additionally, they have a keen eye for quality and have been identifying and rectifying quality issues, Chavan said.The use of mechanised hauls, lifts and robots for various jobs on the shopfloor made it easier for women even as they improved output, quality and discipline.To incentivise women, automobile companies have started offering benefits such as creches, free food, uniforms, medical care and bus conveyance. Salaries of freshers start at Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,000 per month and the pay is equal for men and women on the shopfloor, companies said.Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai do not encourage women on the shopfloor. Factory shifts start very early and end late, which is not ideal for women.