Creating a Safer Tomorrow Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day 2023

Creating a Safer Tomorrow Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day 2023

International Women in Engineering Day is a momentous occasion celebrated on June 23rd each year, honoring the remarkable achievements and contributions of women in the field of engineering. In 2023, the theme for INWED is 'Make Safety Seen,' portraits the vital role women engineers play in ensuring safety across diverse industries. This year's theme resounds with the urgent need to bring visibility to the tireless efforts, innovative solutions, and invaluable contributions of women engineers in creating safe and secure environments. 'Make Safety Seen' shines a spotlight on the unbeatable spirit of women engineers, reminding us of their unwavering commitment to fostering safety and security within various sectors. From designing resilient infrastructures to implementing cutting-edge technologies, women engineers have been instrumental in fortifying our world against potential risks. Their determination to make safety a visible priority propels us toward a future where every individual can thrive in a protected environment.

The theme further underscores the importance of diversity in the engineering industry. By acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of women engineers, we embrace the power of fullness, encouraging more women to pursue engineering careers and contribute their unique perspectives to drive innovation. The engineering field thrives when it welcomes voices of all walks, experiences, and talents, as this multiplicity of perspectives leads to more comprehensive and effective solutions to complex challenges. 'Make Safety Seen' serves as a powerful reminder that gender equality and empowerment are essential components of a prosperous future. By highlighting the immense potential women bring to engineering, it prompts us to dismantle barriers and biases that hinder their progress. Recognizing and valuing women's contributions not only establishes a more equitable playing field but also ignites a ripple effect that inspires future generations of women to pursue careers in engineering, ensuring a steady influx of diverse talent into the field.

As we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, let us acknowledge and applaud the exceptional achievements of women engineers worldwide. Together, let us amplify their voices, nurture their talent, and work towards a future where safety is seen, valued, and championed by all. By embracing the theme of 'Make Safety Seen,' we embark on a collective journey towards a more inclusive and equal society, leveraging the brilliance and resilience of women engineers to create a safer, brighter tomorrow for everyone.

Jhilmil Kochar, Managing Director, CrowdStrike India said, “The number of female students in STEM fields has increased over the past few years, however, their participation in the workforce remains low.  When I embarked on my career journey, there were limited opportunities for women in engineering and I had to persuade my parents to let me pursue a career in STEM. Today, it is encouraging to see how the situation has significantly improved from what it was a few years ago. International Women in Engineering Day serves as a reminder to the progress we have made in promoting diversity and inclusivity within the engineering domain.

Themed, #MakeSafetySeen this year, the significance of the day should really extend beyond a single day of celebration. It should serve as a powerful reminder to break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create an inclusive environment where women can thrive and excel in engineering. A career in STEM is extremely rewarding and with the rise of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, cybersecurity, data analytics, blockchain and cloud computing, the demand for women engineers has surged across various industries in India. It is a promising time for women to seize the opportunities that engineering presents, while also bringing forth their unique perspectives and talents to the field.

To bridge the gap in gender inequality, provide equitable opportunities and improve the future of women in STEM, it will take a collective effort from industry leaders, academia, government, and individuals. We leaders have the responsibility of supporting women in engineering through early mentorship programs, training initiatives, recognition of women role models, reskilling, and upskilling which in turn will help nurture their growth. Strong STEM education creates critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and next-generation innovators.

At CrowdStrike, we prioritize fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce by implementing these initiatives.  As part of my contribution to the field, I have played an active role as mentor to women in cybersecurity and to children in remote areas as part of the Atal Innovation Mission. In partnership with BetterUp, our Learning and Development team provides 1:1 career coaching for women leaders and those returning to work from parental leave. CrowdStrike India also provided scholarships and mentorship to girl students who were meritorious but were unable to pay for their education due to financial difficulties. CrowdStrike recently partnered with India Stem Foundation (ISF), an organization dedicated to promoting STEM education across the country. As part of this collaboration, CrowdStrike supports the World Robot Olympiad Association (WRO) India, an initiative that fosters innovation in technology and entrepreneurship among students. Through this partnership, we have sponsored 1,700 independent students, with an estimated sponsorship amount of approximately INR 30 lakhs. This investment underscores our commitment to cybersecurity and STEM education, enabling more students to access these critical domains.

To mark a promising career in the field, women need to be resilient and learn from prior experience, and a willingness to embrace innovation fearlessly. My suggestion to women in the tech industry is to be persistent and diligent, have an open mind, seize opportunities that come your way, and ensure that you’re learning never stops.”

Ramya Narasimhan, Leader - Product and Industry Practice, Altimetrik said, “On this International Women in Engineering and Technology Day, let us celebrate the triumphant strides and the awe-inspiring journey of women engineers and pioneers who defy boundaries, paving the way for groundbreaking innovation.

At Altimetrik, we embrace a future-forward vision, firmly committed to empowering women and fostering a culture of inclusivity. Our initiatives, including WINGS (Women’s Initiative for Networking Growth and Success) and MentHerUp, among others, form the bedrock of our unwavering dedication to inculcate values of inclusivity and belongingness. Through these transformative programs, we provide a platform for growth, nurturing talent, and fostering mentorship among our exceptional women professionals. By unlocking their extraordinary potential, we not only propel our organization towards unprecedented success but also contribute to a better world, where every voice is valued, and every dream is within reach.

I firmly believe that true innovation flourishes when diverse perspectives converge, and gender parity becomes the norm. By championing inclusivity and empowering women engineers, we are fuelling a transformative future where boundaries are shattered, possibilities are limitless, and our collective impact on the world knows no bounds.”

Deepa Parikh, Head of Solutions Engineering, India, Akamai Technologies said, “Speaking from personal experience, engineering is a highly rewarding career for all. It is an ever-challenging field that requires the use of science, technology, mathematics, creativity, logic, and problem-solving skills on a daily basis. As the realm of engineering is always evolving, those who choose this career path will have countless opportunities to design, construct, and create new products, technologies, and solutions that can help solve real life problems and improve the way we live. Engineering is also a very diverse industry – there are many specializations to choose from, depending on personal aptitude and interests. The prospects for a fulfilling career in engineering are boundless, as engineering skills are readily transferable from one industry to another. My role as Head of Solutions Engineering for Akamai India has been especially rewarding due to the evolution of Akamai with new technologies and acquisitions that have given me and my team the path to diversify our skills and solve a wider breadth of challenges for our customers.

As the Head of Solutions Engineering for India at Akamai Technologies, I am deeply committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the technology industry. In my role, I lead a team of talented solutions engineers who help solve diverse complex problems across industries and technologies related to security, media, performance, and cloud. I also provide mentorship to many young women in the field to help advance their careers in technology. Looking back on my own journey, I have benefited greatly from strong mentors throughout my career. Just as how their diverse experiences and perspectives have become an invaluable resource to me, I firmly believe in driving change myself and supporting other women in their professional or personal development. This is particularly important during tough times, like last year's great resignation that impacted most organizations in India and globally. My key values – self-belief, voicing out insecurities and challenges, and seeking help – got me through to continue supporting the growth trajectory In India. I would tell my younger self to do more of these 3 and fail more to further strengthen these skills along the way.”

Dr. Kajari Ghoshdastidar, Associate Director, Product Architecture said, From my younger days, the challenge of solving unique problems intrigued me. I would accompany my uncle to the computer lab, where I witnessed the fascinating use of punch cards and tapes to create amazing programs and solve complex business problems. This sparked my interest, and I began delving deeper into the world of computers. My uncle and I even assembled a computer together. These memories served as the driving force behind my decision to pursue engineering. Today my work and team at Carelon Global Solutions inspire me to progress in my journey.

At Carelon Global Solutions we prioritize diversity, 40% of our associates are women. We offer an internal program, Women in Technology, aimed to make the workplace inclusive for women. We bring women in STEM together to brainstorm, network and drive inclusive initiatives to help them pursue their passion.

In the future, technology will seamlessly permeate our lives. In the true sense of pervasiveness, instead of actively learning how to use technology, we would witness advanced human-machine collaboration to create solutions customized to our needs. I recommend young women engineers or aspirants to learn new-age technologies like AI and cloud computing. Being a woman engineer by itself is a remarkable achievement and you need to embrace your passion, grab every opportunity, question bias and lead with confidence.

Aina Jain, Senior Software Engineer, Cuemath said, “Against all odds, I embarked on a journey that fuelled my passion for math and achieved academic excellence from a young age. Despite lack of technology exposure, I persevered with the support of my father, husband and friends. Learning from my own struggles, this International Day of Women in Engineering, I envision equal access to modern day technology infrastructure for every child hailing from remote corners of the country. I believe that teacher training programs should be increased to promote early education amongst girls and empower them to pursue careers in STEM. This will further provide them with quality education along with adequate exposure and level the playing field on a global scale. Lastly, companies too should take proactive measures and must implement programmes that directly aim at upskilling more women in the field of STEM. A mentorship program that encourages women to learn beyond their designated roles and responsibilities, can go a long way in empowering them and increasing their participation in the field of STEM.”

Sowmya Rao Panuganti, Associate Director, Memory Solutions at Samsung Semiconductor India Research said, “Engineering, particularly in the semiconductor industry, is an excellent career choice for women seeking an exciting future and limitless opportunities. From smartphones to medical devices, engineering powers modern technology and offers a platform for women to unleash their creativity and stay at the forefront of technological advancements.

The constant drive for progress in engineering presents women with incredible opportunities to learn, grow, and make significant contributions throughout their careers. By embracing engineering, women can be part of developing next-generation semiconductor devices that fuel AI, IoT, and other innovative technologies. This dynamic environment allows women engineers to make their mark and shape the future. For me, it has been a rewarding experience to have directly contributed to building a smartphone’s storage devices, the sought after products in the market. On the other hand, there is also a sense of fulfilment when you take on a challenge to solve the problem and help your company develop cutting-edge products.

The semiconductor industry thrives on diverse expertise, encompassing research, development, design, manufacturing, and quality assurance, thereby enabling women to find their niche and align their talents with their passion.

As we celebrate International Day of Women in Engineering, we must always thrive to encourage and inspire more women to pursue engineering careers. With the backing of organizations and initiatives like mentorship programs, and networking opportunities to recognize the full potential of women, they can confidently pursue their ambitions and leave an indelible impact on the world.”

Gayathri Vaidyanathan, Director, Software Engineering, Lowe’s India said, “Since my early days, the tech industry has undergone remarkable transformation and keeping up with the changes has been a roller coaster ride. Today, a career in technology isn’t one-tracked - it offers incredible opportunities for growth in diverse fields. Global resources are more accessible than ever, opening endless avenues for self-learning and adopting new skills. Organizations, and in fact, the entire ecosystem is starting to recognize the value of diversity and inclusion in tech and are taking necessary steps to address gaps. I’m sure in the coming decades; the underrepresentation of women in leadership that we see globally today will change. The ratio of women in technology will only increase and they will be more prepared to take center stage. I’m glad to be part of Lowe’s – an organization where diversity is a key focus and women are well represented in technology roles.

Talking from my personal journey, my mother is my first role model of a strong and independent woman, and her influence guided my career choices. I was always drawn towards problem-solving and logical reasoning and a career in engineering was a natural fit for me. My journey has taught me invaluable lessons that I want to share with young women- those who are considering an engineering career and even those who aren’t sure. Firstly, to prioritize continuous learning. Invest in yourself, acquire transferable skills, and stay updated with technology. Build a strong support network and connect with like-minded individuals who can uplift and empower you. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a pathway to growth.

Lastly, be resilient and embrace challenges fearlessly, for that is the only way to overcome them. Celebrate your individual journey and don’t compare it to others. The world needs your talent, unique perspectives, and unwavering determination to shape a better tech-driven tomorrow.”