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Sonia Khattar

CEO

Hongyi Jig Rapid Technologies

1 Rating

WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY There is a positive change in the industry

Mar 23, 2021

Sonia Khattar, CEO, Hongyi Jig Rapid Technologies - A key component is to give complete authorisation power to the woman to make decisions by having faith in them (Interview by Juili Eklahare)

What prompted you or attracted you the most to get into the manufacturing industry, given that it's quite male-dominated?

My professional journey with the company started almost 21 years back. I had completed my graduation in science and post-marriage, I joined the family business as a fresher. My biggest reason to join this workplace was primarily that my husband encouraged me to step out and take charge of development & research in this field. The respect and welcome I received from my peers and clients during work meets and interactions encouraged me to take this up further.

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?

A key component is to give complete authorisation power to the woman to make decisions by having faith in them. I have never faced any challenges in my professional experience due to my gender.

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?

Most female workers have proved to be more efficient and sincere in many male-dominated industries. Currently, we have a 30:70 (male to female) ratio in our company, and we employ around 80% of women in different verticals of our businesses. We are one of the top recruiters from the Delhi Institute of Tool Engineering and we especially ask them for women candidates from engineering or science backgrounds to join our workforce. I think there is a lot of positive change in the industry, and women are equally interested in working in such advanced fields where they can show their talent.

Also, during campus placements, if a company prefers female candidates, then it will definitely encourage institutions to have more seats for women.

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?

The biggest myth around the manufacturing industry is that it has something to do with heavy machines and manual labour, which is not really the case in our company because we deal with product designs, research and management of manufactured goods. With the help of the right equipment and technology, we have made tasks more interesting and user-friendly. With flexibility in work and favourable work timings, women are happy to work with us. Our youngest female employee is 22 years old and the oldest is around 40; so we offer work for all age groups of women and encourage them to participate in all stages of production.

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?

It has been a smooth journey for me, and I was happy to learn that many of our overseas clients prefer to interact with women leaders. In many technologically advanced countries like China, Japan and Taiwan, women are predominating in industrial sectors & that culture inspires us. We feel that by encouraging more women & creating awareness around these sectors, we can get more female participation in the coming years.

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?

The best part of being a woman in the manufacturing and technology industry is that one gets a lot of respect & encouragement. If one has a supportive family and good knowledge of the profession, the sky is the limit for achieving success. Women who want to join this industry should make sure that they get the complete practical and theoretical knowledge of the science behind these products. They should be prepared to work hard, travel worldwide and upgrade themselves with the latest technological advancements.

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