March 2021 | 758 words | 3-minute read
From being the first female technician to join Tata Power-DDL to five years on, being on par and, at times, better than her male colleagues, Rajni Kumari has come a long way. At 27, her mantra of doing what she loves has kept her going steady in a traditionally male-dominated job function.
An alumni of ITI Dheerpur, she joined Tata Power-DDL, through campus placement, after completing a certified course in electrical engineering. She was the only woman among the 10-member batch selected that year. Reminiscing the early days at the Distribution Transformer (DT) workshop, she says, “It took some time for my male colleagues to accept me as their team member, and I had to work extra hard to prove that I could do the job,” adding, “I think initially some colleagues were ready to judge me on my day-to-day performance, but there were others who were very supportive and encouraged me to give my best.”
Gradually, she started speaking up for herself. “When I joined, there was no washroom for women at the workshop as there were no females in the team. Initially, I was hesitant to bring up the issue, but then I spoke to my reporting manager. Though it took a little time, but now we have a women’s washroom in the premises,” says Ms Kumari. Despite these challenges, her focus has always been on work.
Passion to full-time job
Her job entails transformer repair work including oil filtration, oil testing and transformer testing in labs. “I am also involved in field work wherein I contribute to the onsite installation of DTs, fault checks of transformers, and their repair,” she says. Her passion for this field began early in life. “I used to love to try and fix household electrical appliances like toasters, irons and blenders when I was young. I then decided to pursue a career in this field. What started out as fixing my mother’s kitchen appliances led me to work on complex DTs,” says Ms Kumari.
What part of her job does she love the most? “Experimenting,” she says rather emphatically. “I enjoy DT testing and fault checking. There’s a cause behind every fault and understanding and fixing it is a learning. From getting to work on new tasks every day to training new interns and learning from them, it has been a great learning and sharing experience at the DT workshop,” she adds.
Five years on, things have changed for the better. “The way my colleagues and friends view my work has changed. People who used to suggest I move to another department, now come to me for advice and support. All this has resulted in a sense of self-worth,” she adds with a smile. The desire to prove herself as well as support from the senior leadership at Tata Power-DDL were game changers, both in the form of encouragement and sponsorship for a part-time diploma in electrical engineering.
"At Tata Power-DDL, we firmly believe in the power of gender diversity at the workplace. We have joined hands with USAID (the United States Agency for International Development) to elevate women’s participation in India’s power sector. Tata Power-DDL is also a proud signatory to UN Women & UN Global Compact’s initiative. We are optimistic about building a utility of the future with a balanced share of leadership roles among all genders.”—Mr Ganesh Srinivasan, CEO, Tata Power-DDL
Outside of work, Ms Kumari says she likes reading, travelling to new places, and experimenting new dishes in the kitchen on Sundays. After office, she can be found helping her siblings and neighbourhood children with their studies and staying abreast of developments in her field.
Ms Kumari hopes to pursue a degree in engineering and work with cross-functional teams to understand how things work across departments in a company. Her journey has also inspired other women to join the DT workshop at Tata Power-DDL. “I always believed in my dreams and am happy that I decided to chase them, though I still have a long way to go,” she states.
With inputs from Manzah, assistant manager, Corporate Communications, Tata Power-DDL