Leaders Can Learn A Lot From What These Women Are Doing For Metro Tunnels In Chennai

Despite the great strides made in favour of women in engineering over the last century, women are still the underrepresented class of workforce in many areas. While the technical arena remains disproportionately dominated by male professionals, the imbalance does not reflect the complete story, especially in the case of Chennai Metro Rail. The rapid transit system in the metropolitan that started service in 2015 is a joint venture between Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu. Behind this massive project that now support the livelihoods of thousands of southern residents, there is a bunch of young women engineers who work diligently towards supporting the project, making sure that it serves people at its best. 

24-year-old Shrinidhi Vijayakumar is the youngest engineer on the project. She got inspired to build for metros when she interned at the Delhi Metro station and was inspired beyond awe. “For an engineer, one of the most emotional moments is witnessing a breakthrough of a tunnel boring machine (TBM), wherein the machine bores the earth and reaches a station. You work with several challenging geological conditions and mostly these are unpredictable. So, when you overcome all that and witness a tunnel being created, you feel so proud,” she said to The Hindu. Another young and enthusiastic expert who laid the tracks in the tunnel is Bharathi P.M. Bharati was recruited after Chennai Metro Rail sponsored a special course at IIT Madras. She shares with the publication her thrilling experience when she had to inspect the tunnels during the December 2015 floods. “I had to go on an inspection. There was quite a lot of water in the tunnel. After a point, I was petrified,” she adds.

E. Brigita, 29, also shares one of the best moments she has experienced during her seven years of career with Chennai Metro Rail. “After years of work, when we finally saw the train zip through the underground tunnels for the first time and heard the public cheer, we felt it was all worth it,” she says. Another engineering working on the metro rails is K. Yogambal who began her career in ground construction building. “Then when I started going underground for station construction, I was thrilled beyond words,” she said. These young souls are not only pursuing a career that’s been stamp marked for men but also reaching their dreams with their profession. They are practicing engineering not because someone told them to or they had to, they are doing it because they love to.

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