What prompted you or attracted you the most to get into the manufacturing industry, given that it's quite male-dominated?
For me, there was a legacy that I was very proud to inherit. Since my childhood, I was interested in business; my grandfather & father used to talk about business & economies over dinner, and I would sit and listen to them. So, it was more about my interest in business and creating something in the enterprise that prompted me to join the business. Moreover, I always associated with the Kinetic brand and was proud of the legacy that my family has created.
What, according to you, are the key components of a gender-balanced manufacturing organisation? Do you think there are any obstacles that make the manufacturing career less attractive to women?
For a gender-balanced manufacturing organisation, it has to begin with the policy of the organisation and having a gender-neutral approach to sourcing talent. Companies must ensure, wherever possible, they get the best talent, whether male or female. One of the things that have kept women away from manufacturing is that, historically, manufacturing has been seen as a male-dominated industry because it has been more physical, labour-based shop floor management. But manufacturing, now, has become more automated where physical labour is not required as before.
When it comes to manufacturing industries, like aerospace or defence or automotive, we don't see many special initiatives/encouragement to attract female candidates. Do you think the situation is changing now? Do you think an effective industry-institution collaboration will help encourage women into the field?
The situation is changing very gradually, and it needs to take place at a faster pace. Women can be a greatly productive part of a manufacturing organisation. An industry-institution collaboration will definitely help because it starts at the skill level, so we have more skilled women for the job.
What are some myths related to women in manufacturing that you would like to bust here? How can the industry work on creating a more women-friendly environment to encourage the upcoming workforce?
One big myth is that women are not suitable for the manufacturing industry and are suited for the service industry. For women to come into the manufacturing industry, we just have to give them opportunities. Once women come in, other factors come into the picture, like maternity leave, etc, where the employee needs to be supported, turning her into a long-term resource. In fact, women are a part of the workforce in the rural industry. But if we look at the core manufacturing industry in urban areas, it will take some time because such a social change takes time.
Can you share any challenges you have faced/are facing being a woman in the manufacturing industry? How do you think these challenges can be overcome?
Honestly, I really have never faced any gender-related difficulties in the industry, and that’s because I have never let my gender be an issue. I am confident about myself as a professional, and therefore, I’ve never allowed it to hinder me or affect my thinking in any way.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the manufacturing industry? What would your advice be for women aspiring to enter this field?
As long as one is speaking sense and doing her job properly, I find being a woman in a male-dominated sector is advantageous because she is easily heard & remembered. Also, women should actively consider manufacturing as a career – it’s time we begin making our mark in this sector. But of course, one has to choose the sector correctly to have a greater chance of success.