A whole new world of POSSIBILITIES

“After lying low for a few years, the industry is back in the market with an aim to reach new heights. It holds a knowledgeable and talented manpower, and with the surge of fancy and exotic tools in the market, people will help in industrial growth in the future. However, the contribution of women in the core industrial field is minimal compared to that of men. The coming decade will see this equation change significantly for the better” – Aafreen Sheikh
It might be passé to say that ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’. In today’s world, like men, women have been making and marking new achievements in every industry. In the near future, one should not be surprised to find women at par with men, be it any field and industry. Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry does not highlight any prominent female achievers. The entire manpower comprises mostly of males and rarely one can see the ratio tilting the other way. The manufacturing industry is growing at a rapid pace in the country and allied fields are also doing well. At such times, this field should be viewed as one with opportunities by males and females alike. However, due to lack of sufficient encouragement or prominent names, the demand to pursue a career in this field is lukewarm.
The need and growth of this industry is based on large orders from the automobile, defence, aerospace and engineering sectors. Thus, opportunities are visible in every sector.
Globally, tooling industry seems to be wide and large scale, with 100 per cent contribution of manpower to bring the industry with determination and focus to another level. However, in this regard men continue to outnumber women. But in the near future, can we predict a change in this statistic significantly?
Shortage of women in manufacturingKnowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is widely regarded as critical to be competitive in the current global economy. Due to the unequal ratio of males and females working in this sector, there is a huge disparity in their earnings too. These ratios lead to a less liking for the field in general. In a 2009 survey, only 5 per cent of the girls said they were interested in an engineering career. It should be noted that attracting and retaining more women in the manufacturing workforce will maximise innovation, creativity and competitiveness.
Because of our psychological belief that women lack the aptitude to succeed in STEM fields, women in manufacturing careers are considered inappropriate. The idea that girls are not good at science is simply floating in the air that we breathe. These false ideas prevent girls and women from pursuing engineering. Such implicit beliefs directly influence parents’ decisions to encourage or discourage their daughters from pursuing science and engineering careers. Hearing or sensing such thoughts and misconceptions in the immediate environment is affecting individual career choices. It simply breaks down a girl’s self-confidence in her abilities. Also, there is lack of female role models in the field of engineering that young females can get inspired from.
ReformsSpecific solutions and ways must be implemented to increase the number of women in the tooling industry:
• To develop training programmes for girls to focus on machines, technical aspects of programming, and not merely on broader applications• Develop opportunities for women in various departments in tooling industries• Exhibitions or conferences should be held where female employees interact with other engineers.
Generating interestAlthough technology has become more pervasive in the lives of young people, technology as a carrer is not what they want to pursue when they grow up. According to a recent survey held in UK, 90 per cent of girls between the ages of 11 and 16 thought computers and cutting edge gadgets are cool, but only 28 per cent of those girls seriously considered careers in the technology industry.Women’s contribution in technology is often taken for granted, merely rolled up as a part of the great tidal wave of innovation surrounding the computer age. The marketing side of technology and services has the potential to become increasingly important in the future. To connect innovative technologies with consumer uses, women will be naturally positioned to be project managers on technology ventures because of experience in other departments and disciplines. Today, if we realise this, we may consider making technology or innovations with a female eye for detail, which would definitely help the society in the long run.
While Indian women are making great strides in the field of advertisement, media, education, healthcare, hospitality, etc.; surprisingly, until date no Indian woman is at the forefront in the manufacturing industry.  Considering that India is emerging as a global manufacturing hub, the issue of skilled manpower needs to be addressed. Hence, courses developed for women will improve the employment potential for women engineers in sector like automobile, auto components manufacturing, aerospace, die mould and other industries, thus providing the much required skilled workforce. Women are the real architects of society and the fastest way to change society is to mobilise women of the world. As author Diane Mariechild aptly put “A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”
About authorAafreen Sheikh is working at Dijet Industrial Co. Ltd. as an Assistant Manager Operation. Dijet is a worldwide supplier of precision metal cutting tooling and high impact customer cemented carbide.

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