Women, careers and goals in focus at this Chennai Corporation school

Students with C.V. Thilakavathy, Southern Railway’s first woman EMU driver

Students with C.V. Thilakavathy, Southern Railway’s first woman EMU driver   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Students at the Chennai Girls Higher Secondary School in Korukkupet have interacted with women who are fashion designers, chefs and journalists among others, in a programme aimed at providing positive role models and boosting career options

Over the last two months, around 100 students from the Chennai Girls Higher Secondary School in Buddha Street, Korukkupet have interacted with a chef, fashion designer, a pilot, a motorwoman, women entrepreneurs, and a journalist among others.

These interactions were a part of a pilot role-modelling programme, to build a career mindset for young girls initiated by the Greater Chennai Corporation along with Engendered, an organisation working to improve labour force participation rates among women in the country.

“Focusing on the need for these young girls to be exposed to positive role models and influences, we conceived the program to look at education from the lens of employability.” said Prajakta Kuwalekar, co-founder, Engendered.

The programme has been designed to show students confidence, leadership and accomplishment in other women, which they then can envision within themselves.

“We started off with a baseline study to understand the personal background, interests and ambitions of the students. Following this, the students met with 12 women role models and interacted with them in spirited sessions which dealt with career opportunities, interests, goals and ambitions. Next year, we will extend the programme to young boys as well so that they can see working women as role models,” she explained.

For K. Sanandha, a class 11 student of the school, the sessions with Madhulika Kapilavayi, founder of Margazhi Designs and Sruthi Vijayan, a professional photographer who also founded Meshca jewellery, were especially inspiring. “There were so many interesting career options that we now know a lot more about,” she said.

Madhulika Kapilavayi, who spoke to the students about how she started her brand and used the internet as a platform to grow, said that the students had asked her questions ranging from how they could identify a career path to parental pressure which often limited their options.

“There were a few girls who were interested in making jewellery, candles, and handicrafts and expressed a keen interest in learning how to build a platform to start home businesses in the future,” she said.

Among the other women role models the girls interacted with were Rohini Rau, an international sailing champion and doctor, R. Vandhana, Founder of WSquare, C.V. Thilakavathy, the first motorwoman on the Chennai Suburban line, Southern Railway and Sanjana Amrite, a pilot with SpiceJet Airlines.

P. Akash, Regional Deputy Corporation Commissioner (North) said that they had decided to introduce this programme in schools to expand the horizons of the students and enable them to break the glass ceiling.

“We are hoping to take this programme to five more schools over the next academic year. Through these interactions and exposure to women who are successful in varied fields, we want the girls to believe that no role or achievement is unattainable for them by virtue of their gender,” he added.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:49:52 PM |

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