300 women start tech manufacturing careers
Diploma engineers gain employment in the growing electronics industry in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic severely curtailed employment opportunities in India. The steepest fall was seen in April 2020, when nearly 18 million salaried employees lost their jobs, according to estimates by CMIE.
For women, this fall has been more lasting than for men. An IndiaSpend study details how in December 2020, 13 percent fewer women were employed or looking for jobs, in contrast with 2% fewer men. In this context, our work of improving employment outcomes for students became even more challenging.
In 2019, Medha entered into a partnership with JEECUP (Joint Entrance Examination Council Uttar Pradesh) to establish a State Training and Placement Cell. This was aimed at creating a holistic system that improves employment and employability of Government polytechnic students in UP. In August 2020, while working under this project, we came across vacancies published by VVDN Technologies.
VVDN is a growing electronics engineering & manufacturing company that was looking to employ women engineers at the time. We reached out to them for more details, authenticated them, and floated the opportunity to gather names of more than 700 young women diploma holders who showed interest.
In the beginning, many of the candidates dropped out of the confirmation process owing to a distant joining location. We then connected with our facilitators on the ground and reached out to Training & Placement Officers of the polytechnics, as they were better informed on students who could travel for the job. Getting parents’ consent to allow their daughters to travel for work was another challenge that the women handled independently.
Once our first cohort of female graduates began working at VVDN in September 2020, reviews shared through word-of-mouth encouraged more women to express interest. We had regularized the coordination process by now – going through Joining and Eligibility details, mapping suitable candidates, and ensuring a smooth joining experience. Some of the challenges that persisted before the students included joining the company at short notice and changing transport multiple times to arrive at the location.
By December 2020, we had helped connect 360 female polytechnic students with VVDN, which has helped the company fulfill its growth strategy oriented towards gender equity in employment.
Through this project, women who have specialized in Electronics, Electrical, IT, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering were able to begin their careers as junior engineers in quality control, production, manufacturing, and mechanical operator roles. It is a small example of how dedicated strategies can help more women fulfill their STEM aspirations and gain a visibly stronger foothold in the industry.
1. Data on job loss in April, 2020 in India.
2. An overview of the status of women’s participation in Indian labor force, over the pandemic.