Shantha Mohan is a seasoned name in the field of software engineering and operations management expertise. She has now published her first book, Roots and Wings : Inspiring Stories of Indian Women in Engineering. In a time when gender disparity is still an issue, this book tells us stories of Indian women in engineering who actually overcame all of those obstacles. Here’s more about Roots and Wings, in the words of the author herself.
Roots and Wings – Understanding the Challenges:
Traditionally, women’s place in the world has been the home, as the caretaker of the family, raising children and keeping house. However, we are multi-dimensional. Every one of us can play many roles in our lives, including contributing to the world economy. The world faces enormous challenges in today’s technology-driven era. To face these challenges, we need the mindset of women working alongside men, given that women are half of the world population.
The Story of Women and Engineering:
While medicine was considered a suitable field of education for women even as early as the late 1800s, engineering was not. The first group of three women to graduate with engineering degrees did so in 1943, from the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG). CEG is one of the oldest engineering colleges in the world and the oldest in India. It is now under the umbrella of Anna University in Chennai. From 1943 through 1971, 35 women graduated from CEG with engineering degrees.
A few of these women made their mark by being a first in their line of work – the first woman engineer in India or the first woman telecommunications engineer in India. A few of them took on the important role of teaching other girls. Many of them contributed technically to their chosen areas of specializations in India and abroad. Some of them were entrepreneurs and rose to positions of chief executive officer (CEO) and other executive ranks. A few were, and are, great community leaders. Many of them overcame several obstacles to their careers and managed to find a good balance between family and work.
Roots and Wings – The Stories:
The stories of the women told in Roots and Wings are diverse. Their lives are lessons in inspiration, courage, initiative, perseverance, innovation, entrepreneurship, resilience and flexibility. Young girls need role models and this book will open their eyes to possibilities in the technical and business arenas. The stories include inspiring and encouraging quotes for women, and men.
Why We Need Roots and Wings:
Critical events in women’s lives—such as marriage, babies and elder care—all interrupt women’s work life. Coming back to work from that interruption in these fast-changing days is hard. These life stories show examples of women resourcefully navigating such interruptions to find their way back to successful careers. Women need support from their parents, their husbands, and the society to achieve their dreams and goals—the kind of support that men already get!
Roots and Wings and History:
Roots and Wings serves as an informal historical account of the transitional period in a microcosm when Indian women successfully broke through cultural and institutional barriers to work as equals of men in technical domains that were exclusively male till then. It starts with the stories of the first set of women to graduate from CEG in 1943 and ends with the stories of those who graduated along with the author in 1971. Each of these stories stands on its own. This book will make a wonderful gift for the young girls in your life—a daughter, sister, cousin, niece, granddaughter, friend, or a reward to yourself.
Author(s): Shantha Mohan
Publisher: Notion Press
Release: August 2018
Genre: Non Fiction/Contemporary
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