‘The World has acknowledged Women in Leadership Roles’
Rajalakshmi Hegde, Branch Head – Pune, B&R Industrial Automation Pvt Ltd, on her journey in a male dominated field. Excerpts from the interview...
B&R Industrial Automation Pvt Ltd,
Her journey in a male dominated field
How adventurous has the journey to success been so far?
My journey of 22 years from a graduate in electronic engineering in the year 1996 to being a Branch Head today has been exciting and I kept unfolding my potential at every step. I was determined to pursue a career in the core field rather than shifting to IT and computers, which were booming in those times due to Y2K.
The automation industry was male dominated at that time. I was the first woman employee in my first automation company. For the first project I was granted permission to work on the shop floor after several discussions. Women, machines and operators were not meant to be together. Shop floors and assembly lines had only male employees. Travelling to clients all over India became a routine and something I enjoyed as imbibing the cultures of various regions.
For a country where women have joined the workforce decades ago, there are few in leadership positions. What are the possible reasons?
In today’s fast-paced and dynamic environment, woman leaders are donning multiple hats.
However, earlier women had faced many challenges but today have overcome them in order to be at leadership positions. A woman today is career oriented and plays a crucial role in socio economic growth of the country. Parents are recognising the importance of their girl child being educated in order to be self-sufficient and independent. Various fields like banking and finance, health, medicine and information technology are led by women. The automotive industry and many tech giants have been recruiting and promoting women workforce on a large scale.
There is always a glass ceiling and it is not always gender-based. But how difficult is it for women to enter the corner office?
With the ability to switch on and off from personal to professional to personal lives, women are dealing with children at home, preparing for board meetings, taking care of parents. Having said this, most women these days are finding all the support they can gather to handle both ends. The world has acknowledged women in the leadership roles and the industry has promoted many women employees to leadership positions.
In recent years we have had some successful cases of Women CEOs in banking and finance, but not many in engineering. Will this change in the coming years?
Banking and Finance have clearly good leadership positions, they have empowered women to take top positions, make strategic decisions and they have helped banks and financial market to make commendable progress. This could form an example for all other sectors to imbibe the safe and comfortable working environments, the process of retention for women employees, being sensitive of their needs, etc.
Final Question, do successful women deliberately avoid limelight?
It is always important for individuals to share technology and knowledge for further enhancement. B&R has offered me several occasions to represent the organisation at events, seminars and different forums. As a company, B&R has never limited me from conquering the horizons. I would like to spread a positive message to women who aspire to climb up the ladder, that there could be many hurdles to overcome, do not stop as these are the steps that make you strong and influential.
B&R Industrial Automation Pvt Ltd.
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