ELGi’s Woman of Steel: Divya’s take on Bringing Inclusivity in the Industry
26th August 2023
Divya Thopiah of ELGi Equipments Limited has always been fascinated by the manufacturing sector. Her role as the Assistant General Manager of Planning and Logistics is filled with challenges but also brimming with opportunities to shape the industry’s landscape. It is women like Divya and their exemplary work ethic that become an inspiration for millions of aspiring girls who want to carve their niche in this industry.
Growing up in Coimbatore, Divya was always in an environment where manufacturing was a way of life. Her father’s legacy as a factory head at ELGi Rubber Company ignited her curiosity, while her own interests led her to pursue Mechanical Engineering at Kumaraguru College of Technology. It was during her college years that Divya discovered her passion for supply chain management. Fuelled by this newfound interest, she set her sights on higher education in the USA, earning a Master’s in Industrial Engineering with a specialization in Supply Chain Management from Oklahoma State University.
As the head of ELGi’s Production Planning and Logistics department, Divya T shoulders the critical responsibility of ensuring the prompt availability, precise execution, and on-time delivery of compressor package orders across ELGi’s diverse business verticals. Her top most priority is directed towards facilitating impeccable order fulfillment, guaranteeing a seamless customer experience through efficient delivery and execution processes.
When asked about the industry, Divya shared, “The manufacturing industry is one of the largest. It is very structured, and learnings from the best practices and processes followed within the industry are very useful not only to help shape one’s professional career but also to pave the way for a balanced and quality personal life. And the manufacturing industry provides a lot of scope for innovation, which is very interesting and challenging at the same time. Also, being a woman and part of a minority population within the manufacturing industry is highly satisfying. It provides a sense of pride for me personally to grow at a fast pace and do exceptionally well.”
Empowering Inclusivity in the Manufacturing Sector
Being a woman in a male-dominated sector came with its share of challenges. In her early career before joining ELGi, Divya encountered instances where her opinions were sidelined due to biases that deemed women’s input as less relevant. Undeterred, she stood firm, often raising her voice louder to ensure her perspectives were heard. These experiences, though not within ELGi, strengthened her resolve to overcome such challenges, reshaping perceptions and paving the way for others. She adds, “As long as we have big aspirations, believe in ourselves, and work hard towards the same, any role within manufacturing can be successfully handled by women.”
The landscape of gender equality has undergone a swift transformation, with an increasing acceptance of coexistence and equitable consideration for women’s perspectives, even for those working on the shop floor. Divya has observed this positive shift firsthand and notes that ELGi is genuinely committed to fostering parity within the organization. Divya’s words signifies the profound impact of determination and dedication in overcoming stereotypes.
In response to inquiries about gender-related challenges, Divya candidly shares that while she has personally been fortunate to avoid specific hurdles, a lingering perception that women may struggle in leadership roles or on the shop floor persists. In response, she has adeptly navigated such biases by adopting an empowering mantra. By disregarding these stereotypes and focusing on her capabilities, Divya’s resilience underscores her unwavering belief that dedication and determination conquer all obstacles.
Cultivating Diversity: ELGi’s Pioneering Steps
Divya’s insights echo the need for organizations and the industry as a whole to cultivate an inclusive environment for women. To achieve this, she emphasizes the significance of educating both male and female employees about equality and fostering a culture of inclusion. Divya also suggests that organizations should actively identify roles suitable for women and channel their efforts into recruiting women for these positions. This proactive approach would not only create opportunities but also pave the way for a more diverse and balanced workforce.
ELGi Equipments Limited has emerged as a leader in promoting gender diversity and inclusion within the manufacturing sector. The company’s commitment is evident through its allocation of resources and the organization of empowering activities for women employees. ELGi strives to ensure an equitable working environment for both shopfloor and office-based women employees by consistently aligning its policies and benefits with global standards. With a visionary approach, ELGi has begun identifying specific roles exclusively for recruiting women, underscoring their dedication to achieving gender diversity objectives.
ELGi’s initiatives to empower women stand out as a beacon of progress. At the ELGi Air Center, the company recently introduced assembly lines exclusively managed by young women. These women, trained through the intensive three-year program at the ELGi Vocational Training School (EVTS), possess diverse skills including machining, welding, electrical work, and advanced production technologies. Their ability to adapt and contribute across various assembly lines showcases the impact of comprehensive vocational training. ELGi’s commitment extends beyond the immediate, as these young women now serve as inspirational role models, inspiring others to pursue fulfilling careers in the dynamic manufacturing sector.
“The industry is a relatively easy field and not as tough as it is sometimes projected. It provides exciting and challenging opportunities for continuous learning, which would help shape a promising professional career and balanced personal life. There is no role within manufacturing that women cannot handle. As long as we have big aspirations, believe in ourselves, and work hard towards the same, any role within manufacturing can be successfully handled by women”, she concludes.
As the industry continues to evolve, Divya’s belief in the potential of women to excel in any role within manufacturing serves as an inspiration to millions of women out there. With her leadership and ELGi’s pioneering efforts, the manufacturing sector is set to embrace a future that is inclusive, diverse, and brimming with opportunities for women to shine.