The Silhouette of Sublimity: Women's Day at NITR
“You educate a man; you educate that man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation”.
Fighting back gracefully with strength and fearlessness in a world full of prejudices and superstitions is a remarkable trail every woman possesses and practices intellectually. It is necessary to acknowledge the worth and significance of super-women in our lives and their tremendous contribution to our society.
As an ode to womanhood, NIT Rourkela organised the event “AAHANA” virtually to celebrate International Women’s Day on 10th March 2021( The celebration was rescheduled because of the ISRO visit at the institute on 8th March 2021). Team MM had the unique opportunity to cover the entire event and gather opinions of various female faculty members regarding the status and position of women on the campus, on an auspicious occasion. Read the article to find out more about the same.
A glimpse of AAHANA
The women's day event, as a daughter event of the Diamond jubilee celebrations, was a perfectly planned event, filled with motivation, empowerment and a touch of culture, amongst other things. As a precursor to AAHANA, several competitions were held for the female employees and faculties such as dance competition, Mehendi, rangoli competition, and debates
The event commenced at 5.30 pm with an introduction to the essence of the occasion and a heartfelt welcome to the guest by Prof. Archana Malik. She proceeded by stating the theme ” Choose to change” and explained the meaning and significance of the term AAHANA. A virtual lamp lighting marked the commencement of the event and added an aesthetic aura to the celebrations. The guests expressed their views on the event.
This being the first official International Women's Day celebration at NIT Rourkela, held a special place in the institute’s timeline. Shortly after, Prof. Susmita Das, Convener, AAHANA, spoke about the persons involved in making the event a success and a few lines regarding the women fraternity of NIT Rourkela.
This was followed by the Hon’ble Director, Prof. Animesh Biswas putting forward his views on the freedom of women and how it directly impacts nation growth. Following this, Prof. Abanti Sahoo, PIC, Diamond jubilee, spoke out her views and opinions. Next in line, a short motivational video, ‘Women of NITR’ was played.
An effort for a change
Following the same, a very fruitful and enlightening panel discussion was conducted on the topic, “ Women empowerment and gender equality at the workplace”. The guests invited for the discussion were Ms Kavita Jalan (I.G.P, Western Range, Rourkela), Ms Aboli S. Naravane (ADM, Rourkela), Dr Gitanjali Patri (Ex Gynecologist), Mrs Sangeeta Mishra (Retd. DGM, SAIL), Rashmibala Routray (Retd. School DI), Prof. Dipti Patra (HOD EE) and it was coordinated by Prof. Seemita Mohanty(President, SAC). This discussion reflected upon the stated topic from various forefronts, as per the experience of the people from diverse fields.
Next, Mementoes were presented to guests by Prof.Susmita Das
Prof. Pradip Kumar Dash, Registrar, NIT Rourkela congratulated the organizers and guests and reflected upon women empowerment in the country by stating statistics related to fields like literacy rates of women, etc.
A mesmerizing display of talent, the Odissi dance by the research scholars of the institute, concluding with a beautiful cultural presentation, Prof. Susmita Chinara briefed regarding the various competitions held for commemorating women's day and Prof. Poonam Singh was thanked for being the chief behind the competition organization. The winners of the various competitions were announced in due course of time. Following the above, a clip was played which contained heartfelt messages for the women at NIT Rourkela from eminent women achievers all over the country.
The atmosphere was rocked with a group dance performance then. Next in line was a surprise event- a ramp show by the women faculties. The señoras of NIT Rourkela gracefully dominated the stage and illuminated the occasion with their mesmerizing performance. The captivating spree of cultural events continued as a drama encompassing the dedication, woes and value of a woman acting as a homemaker was beautifully presented.
A melodious track–Aashayein, sung by two professors and a research scholar, was next in line to electrify the audience.
End of a memorable evening!
Video clips housing messages from women and men, to women and men, was played following the above, which encompassed opinions across diverse age groups, professions, backgrounds and communities at Rourkela.
Finally, the vote of thanks was given by Ms Swagatika Sahoo (Assistant Registrar), which marked the conclusion of the auspicious event.
Regarding the proceedings of the event, Ms Archana Kumar (Public Relations Officer, NIT Rourkela), the convenor had the following to say:
“International women’s day was celebrated for the first time in the NIT Rourkela campus and the event was conducted with wonderful ease as everyone coordinated it in a well-mannered way. There was ample participation from all the women present on the campus in the various competitions conducted for them. This was a delightful experience and we should celebrate it every year”.
Women at NIT Rourkela
On the eve of Women’s day, the team of Monday Morning approached several female faculties and staff members and had a discussion regarding the facilities provided to them on the campus and if they are sufficient. Also, we asked for opinions on gender equality, suggestions for improvement, amongst other things. Here is what they had to say:
Prof. Seemita Mohanty(President, SAC):
We have a varied range of facilities for women of all occupations at the campus, starting from the working staff to the students and faculties. All the facilities provided are adequate and equally accessible to both men and women. A lot of measures are already being undertaken for the betterment of the institute. However, according to my, space is a major issue for some professors in quite a few departments.
Other than that beautification of some of the outdoor areas can also be facilitated. Along with that, washrooms for different-abled people can be set up in different departments. For a woman as a homemaker or a CEO of a company, she is expected to be perfect and every day is a struggle to achieve success. So, according to me, womanhood should be appreciated and celebrated every day. We come across certain prejudices and biases, but they are very subtle and at implicit levels. It is very delightful to see that the male counterpart of this generation is very supportive as well, which has helped women to progress a lot.
She had the following to say about the recently inaugurated Daycare initiative,
It is a very good initiative as it was extremely necessary, especially for the young female faculties. Earlier, hiring domestic workers for taking care of the children during working hours was our only option which used to make our work easier. However, the number of female employees has increased within the last 10-15 years and there has been a lack of help, which indicates that the Day Care Centre was an utter necessity.
There is gender equality on the campus, according to me. However, if we consider the numbers, the male population has a large chunk of digits as a reflection of the overall labour force participation in the country. The administration has taken a conscious decision to have female employees in many authoritative positions such as Deans, Head of Departments, President of SAC and many more.
Prof. Susmita Das( Dean FW):
During my tenure here, the institute has facilitated and empowered female employees in many aspects. Now, as a working professional, we can realize our goals and work in that direction maintaining harmony in our professional as well as our personal life. More female employees should be encouraged to take up more responsible positions such as administrative assignments in addition to their professional career. One major obstacle female professional face is managing their children as well as their growing career. Sometimes, it becomes hectic to balance both the fronts simultaneously. Day Care Centre should be made in every institute to facilitate the female employees. They can leave their children in a safe and secure environment and concentrate on their work to deliver good output. According to the surveys conducted in our institute among the female employees, it was a necessity. Many facilities are provided to keep the children engaged and they can interact with each other. So, in many aspects, Day Care Centre construction will be helping the parents as well as the children.
The percentage of female faculties has grown remarkably in the past decade. Currently, 60 female faculties are working in our institute among 364 faculties. To provide women inclusion in all aspects and equal opportunities to females having the calibre to achieve it, we are providing equal chances to all and encouraging them to join at NIT Rourkela.
Our institute has encouraged female participation in every aspect and the number of female faculties and students has increased remarkably. The daycare Centre has helped a lot of women in concentrating on their work without being worried about the wellbeing of their children. We want every female to be confident and flaunt it proudly.
Prof. Kakoli Karar Paul (Civil Engg.):
Every female on the campus, may it be the students or the professors or the staff, everyone is given an equal opportunity in every aspect. They all are living their lives within the campus without any hesitation or insecurity. So, women on the campus have a good social, cultural and career-intended life. Sanitation and cleanliness are some of the major factors that should be focused upon, especially for the female population of the campus.
It is not always possible for a family member to be constantly present with the children. Along with that, for female employees to worry less and work more, Day Care Centre is a tremendous advantage. It is a very good prospect for many employees. Day-by-day, I have witnessed a gradual increase in the proportion of female faculties in our institute. This is a boon for this generation. Sudden changes can’t be brought about. A gradual increase in the number showcases the firm development of females in our society. In the case of students as well, the percentage in the engineering field is adequate compared to the female students in medical or science fields according to their choice of career.
Every woman has an ideal personality. Besides doing a job, she functions as a mother, a sister and overall, she is considered as the major contributor to the healthy development of the family. For all such reasons, the provision of facilities is a must, however, they should also maintain their dignity and composure.
Prof. Poonam Singh( Electronics and Communication Engineering):
The status of women on campus, in general, is better than others because most persons are educated and respect women (with some exceptions), but there are no special facilities for women. We can have some playschools for kids of 3-5 years of age so that they don't have to go to distant playschools. It was very difficult for us to manage work and home, taking care of family and job at the same time. Most working women face this problem, in taking care of family and kids, they are not able to focus on their career and do not get promotions on time.
There is no gender equality anywhere, most men think they are superior and more intelligent. Women are judged more critically if they commit any mistake in the family or at work. Women are not considered qualified for senior positions, because men don't want to work under a female boss. However, the situation on campus is better than that in most places. I wish all women to be educated, independent, confident and successful in whatever they do in their life.
Prof. Binita Tiwari( Department of School of Management):
NIT Rourkela provides excellent facilities for women employees. Like, for physical development, sports facilities are provided. For nursing mothers, daycare facilities are there. I am very much satisfied but these facilities may be expanded in future since women participation will only increase in the coming years. Maternity leaves for working women should be increased further. If holidays cannot be increased, work from home should be made desirable for at least 1 year after postpartum, keeping in mind the fact that women have to do the majority of the work in the family. Daycare is an excellent facility that is opened in NIT Rourkela. It will give flexibility to working mothers. As daycare facilities would be effective after children attain a certain age, say 1 year. Before that, work from the home facility should be available for working mothers.
Well, NIT Rourkela has provided equal opportunities for everyone, irrespective of gender. And, I believe it's time to see gender parity as a spectrum rather than two distinct ideas.
There is no limit to what a woman can accomplish. Women have to face several challenges from being a daughter to becoming a mother. In this regard, it is often difficult to manage work along with the family. Sometimes we sacrifice our families or the happiness of being together with them. However, despite these issues, we should always be proud to be women and work towards gender equality. Our focus should be on empowering women which will result in empowering the nation.
To accept and acknowledge:
A woman has equal and in some cases, even greater contribution than a man in various fields. Even during the Vedic period, women enjoyed equal status with men in all aspects of life, contributing to fields like literature, administration and even warfare. Ancient India had many learned ladies. In fact, “Shakti” a feminine term, means “power” and “strength”.
Speaking of the current scenario, women are being endowed with endless opportunities to break away from the shackles of orthodox thinking and attain their true potential. As is evident from the above responses, the institute has strived to provide women on the campus with all sorts of facilities. However, it is a continuous process and there will always be an area that can be improved upon.
After all, Womanhood is not a festival that is to be celebrated once a year but a journey that is to be cherished without any fear.
Team MM salutes women from all walks of life and hopes they continue aiming for the stars and keep attaining heights of success by bringing the warrior inside them to life.