On Friday, March 17, 2023, the second institute event in the Women in STEM Caravan series was successfully conducted at Haritha Ecological Private ITI, Paloncha, Telangana. To champion the cause of women in STEM, the event was organised to felicitate the 29 scholarship awardees under the P&G Betiyan Fellowship pursuing the Electrician trade in the institute and encourage their continued participation and excellence in STEM fields.
The esteemed chief guests for the event included Mr. G Ramesh, Principal of Government ITI Kothagudem; Mr. G. Dhasaradhan, Training Officer, Government ITI Kothagudem; Mr. K. Venkateswara Reddy, Chairman, Haritha Ecological Private ITI, Paloncha; and Mr. B. Ashok Kumar Royal, Principal, Haritha Ecological Private ITI, Paloncha. The faculty of the institution, along with the scholarship awardees, were also present at the event.
As a part of the event, the chief guests addressed the girl students and inspired them with their insights on the critical role of women in STEM fields. They discussed the significance of the girls pursuing the Electrician trade, urged the students to take up related careers in STEM disciplines thereafter, and emphasised the need for overcoming societal biases and maintaining a consistent focus on education and career goals.
An interactive workshop session exploring the career aspirations, motivations, and experiences of the students as women in STEM was conducted by the program team during the event. Students were asked to pen down their dream careers and goals, revealing that roughly 80% aspired for government jobs while 20% targeted industry-related positions in the associated sectors. Sharing their motivations, students cited reasons such as fulfilling their parents' dreams, being inspired by role models around them, or defying those who doubted girls' abilities to excel in STEM careers. “Many people in our communities think that the Electrician trade is not suitable for girls and that girls should instead take up stitching, dress-making, cosmetology-related courses or stay at home and do chores around the house. For me, pursuing this course is my way of showing them that girls too can succeed in these (STEM) fields and proving them wrong,” said one student.
A lively discussion followed on the barriers and facilitators the girl students have faced and anticipate encountering in their STEM journey. Despite grappling with social stigma and discouragement from their communities, the students remained steadfast in their pursuits, drawing strength from their supportive families and their desire to prove themselves in their chosen fields.