The AICTE ATAL Online Faculty development program on Capacity Building of Women in Higher Education was organized for the second consecutive term from 12 to 16 July 2021 by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) & Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of SRM Institute of Science and Technology (SRMIST) with special focus on strategies for women to attain leadership positions.
The Chief guest for the inaugural session, which was held on 12 July 2021, was Ms. Santha Sheela Nair, IAS (Retd), Former Vice Chairperson, Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission. Her speech was very inspiring where she insisted on the society being more inclusive. She insisted that rural women be given digital literacy. She spoke on how Artificial Intelligence is still an untouched area by women. She wanted the women educators to motivate their students to take up AI and she suggested that women friendly apps can be developed. She shared her experiences on how she as the first women sub collector had to face lot of criticism and yet how she become successful. On the whole her talk was very impressive.
Welcoming the participants, Prof. C. Muthamizchelvan, Vice Chancellor, SRMIST delivered the presidential address and said that there is a constant increase of women participation in higher education and workforce as the knowledge economy of twenty first century is women friendly. While many women make it to mid-ranking posts, he rightly pointed out there is underrepresentation of women in first level position. He encouraged to develop skills to assume leadership roles. He highlighted the strength of women faculties, which is above the national average at SRM IST. He cited that women as leaders do head key directorates and academic departments in SRMIST. He stated that this is not a programme but a 'movement' for the qualitative development of the higher education system by involving women who have the capability for spearheading leadership roles in management.
Dr. T.V.Gopal, Dean of College of Engineering and Technology felicitated the gathering. He suggested that gender disparity and gender stereotype should be eliminated. He insisted that women must be proactive in achieving and bringing in a systematic change. He also stated that higher education and research should be useful to the society wherein more employability is offered.
The topics had been balanced with holistic development on women academicians covering both general (Leadership, Networking, Emotional Intelligence, Internationalization, Mentoring, Work life balance, SDG) and Gender specific topics (Gender Mainstreaming, Gender Atlas, Gender Equity, Women Entrepreneurship, POSH law) to be handled on academic administration. There are 15 resource persons, who have rich experience in their chosen fields from different verticals including academic, administration, research and industry.
The participants were from more than 130 institutions, 88 specializations including Primary teachers, PG Teachers of schools and faculty of engineering, medical, science, commerce, arts, cricket / Physical departments, Vice Principals of higher education institutions from 21 states. The program was attended by 10 male participants.
The five day FDP came to a close on 16 July 2021, where Dr. Bharathi Harishankar, Head, Department of Women studies, University of Madras consented to be the Chief guest for the valedictory function. She asserted that women empowerment does not lie in being ‘given’, rather it lies in how it is ‘taken’. She explained that women can call themselves as empowered only when they take up the responsibility from what the rights are to expose. She urged that woman should articulate their thoughts and expression by breaking the glass ceiling which is within them.
Dr. K. Ramasamy, Director Faculty & Research delivered the Presidential address. He cited examples of women who excelled during our struggle for freedom. He inspired the participants by stating that each one of us should empower ourselves and excel in our own way. He also insisted that women should be good mothers at the workplace too, by taking care of the students as their children, as this will create a healthy environment.
The valedictory function was felicitated by our Dean IQAC, Prof. Augustine Maniraj Pandian, who appreciated all the women out there who were active participants. He stated that women should excel in their own way by utilizing the god given potentials rather than feeling liberated in the path laid by men. He claimed that women should have the freedom of choice for this will make them empowered.
The programme had lively interactions with the participants through case studies, projects and surveys. Active participants of these lively interactions received special certificates of appreciation.
The programme was well-organized by a four-member team convened by Prof. E. Poovammal, Presiding Officer, ICC & Associate Director Campus Life. The members of organizing team include Prof. H. Srimathi, Dr. S.Ramya, and Dr. Thanga Revathi.
The FDP focused on the demands of the new education system, helped to identify the hidden treasures of decision making and empowerment of women faculty and set the path to take up leadership position.