Hyderabad Metro Rail is the second-largest metro rail network in the country. With about 40 women loco pilots driving the trains in the city, it has set a mark of women empowerment and women breaking barriers by getting into job roles that were traditionally and historically not considered as a women’s job. In this Skill Talk, Ms. Anindita Sinha, Head – Corporate Communications, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd., (L&TMRHL) speaks about the skills that have helped her in career growth. She also tells us how L&T Metro Rail is supporting women loco pilots, women station controllers, and creating awareness about it, what steps are being taken for a more inclusive work environment and the need for continuous learning. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
Q: When you look back at your career growth, how important have skills been? What skills have helped you to reach so far in your career?
A: I began my career in the Aviation sector in the Department of Operations. It is one of the most crucial departments in this sector. I had to handle a wide-ranging task starting from entry of flight data, managing arrivals, front office, baggage survey, announcements, updating flight status, etc. In all of this, any error could disturb the operations at the airports. So, the work and position demanded a lot of dedication, alertness, always being-on-the-toes, being polite, fast and multitasking.
After that, I moved to Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Here, I had to keep myself abreast about the company/business and the learning window had to be always wide open, demonstrating ownership and responsibility. Therefore, I had to develop the ‘right’ attitude to work towards it during the initial days.
One should learn to work hands-on to progress in life and to move up the corporate ladder. This is the only way to be in control of everything. As a team leader, in case of any emergency, one can deliver independently and bring the adverse situation under control. Current affairs and networking skills should be a strong forte for a communication professional.
Our society has conditioned women that certain jobs are not for women or that women cannot do them. But times have changed, we have women taking up high positions in Army, Air Force, to space and to mining. If we think we are equal to men, priority should not always dominate your thought. We should try to perceive our inner strength and fight challenges and hurdles.
As the Head of Corporate Communications at L&TMRHL, I deal with multiple stakeholders and I need to understand the pulse of the audience. And I respond according to what different platforms expect from me. We must have different strategies to deal with different target audiences, and most importantly we must develop a work-life balance.
Q: Hyderabad Metro Rail has more women loco pilots compared to many other cities. As the Head of Corporate Communications in L&TMRHL, how do you spread awareness and share the word about this to others to motivate women to break the barriers and get into such fields?
A: We have around 40 loco pilots in the Hyderabad Metro Rail. They have undergone a lot of technical, psychometric and analytical skill tests to qualify for this. This number is encouraging as many women are taking up this job. In fact, the inaugural train in Hyderabad that drove our Honorable Prime Minister, our Honorable Chief Minister and other VIP delegates was driven by a women loco pilot. Women’s empowerment comes from financial independence and a safe environment. The message we pass on from L&TMRHL is inclusivity, gender diversity and that women can take up crucial jobs.
We create awareness about such women through our social media channels, where we share photographs of them driving a train or being happy with what they are doing. Not only do we have women loco pilots, but we also have women officers and staff in prominent positions across our company. We also have women Margadarshaks or representatives who work closely with the police for women’s safety. This means we have women in every field!
Q: What are some of the steps that need to be taken to make the work environment more inclusive for women?
A: We should enable women to be financially independent and ensure their safety in the workplace. Financial independence and safety would empower women. Every organization should have an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), which looks at the safety of women against sexual harassment at the workplace. Like in L&TMRHL, we have an established ICC to take care of POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment of women at the workplace), to ensure women work in a conducive atmosphere. The government is also very strict about every organization following it now.
Q: What is your advice for women on continuous learning and success in life?
A: Knowledge and learning are becoming superficial with younger generations nowadays. One should be thorough in their study and work. Be wide open to information and news. Read detailed and different news reports for the analytical understating of an issue. There is a lot of potential in the younger generation, especially women. For success, women should be their best judge and treat every day as women’s day. Unlike our times, the younger generation today has a lot of varied opportunities in terms of carrier choices. They should put this to right use and choose a career that offers them learning, recognition, higher prospect and of course a decent pay. Love animals are socially and environmentally conscious and give back to nature and society. And do not stop learning from all your surroundings through keen observation. At times, the emotional parameter, empathy level, patience level gets overpowered by hardcore practicality and intolerance. A balance for better should be the keyword.