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On International Women’s Day, we choose to recognise the contribution of women and girls around the world who are leading the charge for a sustainable future and celebrate those who are blazing trails against insurmountable odds. We raise a toast to the challenger spirit of women who shatter the glass ceilings and pave the way for many more to #Rise.
Here’s looking at some inspiring stories of the women force at Mahindra, who continue to break stereotypes, inspire, shine and challenge each of us. These are women beating the odds and writing their own destinies.
Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited (MMSFL)
Mirnaline has defied societal norms by working in a male bastion. She has independently built her career and supports her family. As an ABM in Meerut, she confidently leads a team of six men. She works on the field with her team, which includes business and collection executives, and manages demanding customers with utmost confidence and courage. She has set an example for the company and society at large that a woman is equally competent and can thrive in a male-dominant profession.
Suvarna is a multi-tasker and knows how to stay calm even in stressful situations. She is a role model to her team and peers, who look up to her for life lessons. She has a knack for problem solving, innovation and value creation during every critical scenario. Suvarna has been a part of the Mahindra Finance family for the past 14 years, where she has broken many stereotypes, right from solving tough NPAs (Nonperforming Assets) to independently dealing with the dealers and OEMs. She is an inspiration to women ABMs at the pre-owned vertical. Suvarna’s career is a testimony to the fact that women can achieve the ‘impossible’ if only they believe in themselves.
A leading brand of tractors in India, Swaraj boasts of state-of-the-art tractor manufacturing facilities in Mohali. This facility is unique because it is among the first tractor units in the region to employ women on the shop floor — traditionally a male bastion. Gritty and hardworking girls have been taking up the challenge of performing male-dominated roles in tractor manufacturing successfully. Here are some stories from the sheroes on the Swaraj shop floor.
Richa Chauhan, the first woman shift supervisor in Swaraj plant-2, joined as a Group Apprentice Trainee (GAT) in 2019 in the maintenance department. After completing her training period, she was given the opportunity to become a shift supervisor, which she happily accepted.
“I belong to Himachal Pradesh, where power cuts were quite common. So, since childhood, I have been curious to know about electrical maintenance. When I chose electrical engineering, many eyebrows were raised as it is known to be a male-dominated stream,” she says.
Currently, Richa handles two shifts with nine people in each shift. She takes a keen interest in attending to the breakdown areas and other areas of concern. She says, “I aim to know the processes end-to-end. In case of any exigencies, I should be capable enough to provide timely solutions to my team. And it’s not just maintenance, but as a support function, we should be ready to help production and other teams as well.”
When everyone stayed at home out of fear of the pandemic and the plant was also shut to avoid the spread of the disease, a few of our colleagues showcased true josh and took up the challenge to make face shields for frontline workers.
Alisha, Mansee and Pranya from Product Quality, Heat Treatment and Dismounting Assembly departments in Swaraj plant-1, respectively, were among the 15 employees who came forward to make face shields for about two months.
Hailing from Raebareli, Kanpur and Lucknow, these three women employees could not return home due to the unavailability of trains when the lockdown was announced. Sharing their experiences, they recalled that it was a tough time for everyone. “But when the office contacted us for this social cause, we volunteered. This gave us an opportunity to do our bit for the welfare of society, while at the same time gave us a sense of purpose to drive positive change,” says Alisha.
There were challenges in the beginning when their landlords prevented them from moving in and out of the house. On their way to the plant, there were random police checks, but slowly everything got streamlined. “The office took good care of our safety and wellbeing, so the fear of contracting the infection didn’t even cross our mind,” says Mansee.
“Back home, our families felt proud of us that we could do something that benefitted our frontline Covid warriors,” says Pranya.
Thanks to such women power, the Swaraj team contributed 40,000 face shields for frontline warriors in different parts of the country.
Santosh has been working at the plant’s assembly line for nine years. The pandemic turned Santosh’s life upside down, but she managed to carry on with her work.
Santosh had to choose between her three-year-old son and her duties in office when she got to know about the resumption of plant operations. She chose to get back to work, leaving her son with her in-laws in their village. “It was a tough call for me, but I love my work, and my workplace is like my own family. I had never stayed without my son. But when I resumed duty in May 2020, I could not meet him for almost three months due to travel restrictions. After three months, I took leave and went back to see him for a couple of days and then joined back,” she recalls.
However, there was a lot of pressure from her relatives and family to leave the job and stay back with her son. But Santosh decided to carry on with her job, and her seniors and colleagues provided her support.
Today, Santosh’s son and husband are back with her, and she has been successful in striking a balance between work and home.
Inspired by these trailblazing colleagues? Share your congratulatory messages for these brave colleagues in the comments section below.