Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras students have launched an online campaign to empower women during this pandemic period by creating awareness about opportunities in education, upskilling, and financial literacy.
Through the ‘She Can’ social initiative taken up as part of the annual Tech Festival Shaastra, the IIT-M students provided career guidance counselling to girl students from schools and college across India. Sessions on financial management were also conducted for working women in Mumbai and Chennai. This online campaign was intended to help them adapt to the ‘New Normal’ created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lauding the students for this social initiative, Prof Shaikh Faruque Ali, Faculty Advisor, Shaastra 2021, IIT Madras, said, “Shaastra does a social outreach every year wherein our students interact with schools in and around the city for various social activities. This year, even being constrained by the pandemic, the students came up with a brilliant idea of ‘She Can’. Initially, it felt to be an ambitious project but the students pulled all the strings and made it a reality. This is a campaign where we all need to be part of and I am happy that students have taken it up. I congratulate the students’ team and thank all to be a part of the initiative.”
The campaign launch was launched virtually on 3rd January 2020 with a panel discussion of eminent women from various walks of life.
Among those who participated include Prof. Preeti Aghalayam, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, Ms. Roopa Karemungikar, Vice President of Customer Value, HighRadius, Ms. Vandhana Ramanathan, Co-founder of Wsquare, and Ms. Jagadharini SampathKumar, Former VP National Stock Exchange of India Limited.
The discussion touched upon women empowerment topics in multiple fields and helped the listeners gain valuable insights into how to navigate the corporate world, deal with obstacles in a career in technology and develop the skills needed to take up leadership roles in their lives.
The IIT Madras students organized three career guidance sessions for over 190 girl students from schools across the country. With the help of career counsellors, these sessions reduced the percentage of students confused about their future plans from 80.2 per cent to 26 per cent.
In addition, leaders in entrepreneurship interacted with around 200 college girls across the country, highlighting the multiple opportunities available for women and motivated them to follow their passion. As much as 58.9 per cent of the students felt that they learned about new opportunities they would not have found out about otherwise, and 59.6 per cent felt an increase in their confidence and motivation levels after the session.
Elaborating about the objectives behind taking up this initiative, Ms. Neha Mahesh, Student Coordinator (Public Relations Team) Shaastra 2021, IIT Madras, said, “Since the last couple of decades, the growth that gender equality has brought in society is truly inspirational. Besides, we observed that it is essential to elevate the prevalent perception of financial literacy and career guidance among women and girls. The ‘She Can’ initiative tries to contribute our hand at promoting this awareness at a very young age by connecting with various schools and NGOs around the city.”
Further, financial literacy sessions were also conducted for over 85 women working in the unorganized sector in two different languages (Marathi and Tamil) during the lockdown period. The IIT Madras students are also creating awareness about essential financial concepts such as ‘budgeting’ and ‘banking’ in the upcoming months.
Updates about the ‘She Can’ campaign and upcoming events will be shared on the following social media channel – https://www.instagram.com/p/CJldUb1Ah6Q/