At BlocPower we are proud of the critical contributions women make to our company every day. Here we interview Shruti Sane, one of our Managing Project Engineers, to learn more about her innovative work at BlocPower and her experience as a women in technology.
What is your role at BlocPower? Do you feel your profession/field is male dominated?
“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t.” —Rhonda Hansome
As a Managing Project Engineer at BlocPower, my role gives me the opportunity to explore the Engineering field holistically. I have never felt even the slightest discrimination over the last two years that I have worked here. Being a startup, new ideas are always encouraged, and the senior leadership team always considers and revisits our views and opinions. Yes, women definitely are few in number compared to our male counterparts, but we are treated as equals and well respected. I believe the environment makes a lot of the difference. It’s important to understand that the gifts of logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection.
I feel blessed to be born and brought up in a family who doesn’t discriminate between boys and girls, a family that is academically oriented and has encouraged the women to follow their dreams–not just in the traditional fields of engineering or medicine but creative arts as well. My parents have inculcated a strong sense of discipline and encouraged me to do my best. They never questioned my choice of career.
Mechanical Engineering, is a male dominated area throughout the world. Even today whenever I meet new people they are quite taken aback on learning about my educational background and profession. To this day, I am not sure whether to feel demeaned or be proud of it, although I prefer the latter. Growing up I never felt I belonged to the world of science and technology any less than my male friends. But, during my undergrad, and, even more during my Masters at Columbia University, I felt quickly outnumbered by my male peers. That did not intimidate me, though; in fact, it encouraged me to perform even better.
Today, the number of women in various professional fields is on the rise, and, slowly, the differences have begun to disappear, but they still exist. From shops that primarily sell dolls in the “girls” section to the most loved television shows that portray women in science and tech fields as nerdy and unattractive, society itself continues to tell women that they’re in some way unfit to contribute to the world through STEM. The men should understand and the women should believe that this world needs women in every sector.
What does National Women’s History Month mean to you?
I am relatively new to the “Women’s History Month” concept. That might make you question my social awareness, but back home in India all these celebrations are more like a trend that people follow.
Women have contributed significantly in shaping the world that we live in, within communities and within the home. Despite this impact, their role has not always been rightfully highlighted. In the past, they have fought bravely for what they believed in, overcoming innumerable challenges and bringing revolutionary changes. Even in the modern era, though, the struggle to keep up with the male counterparts is real. This is the story of women globally.
Women’s History Month is an effort to create an awareness, and bring to the forefront the stories of women who have helped in making this nation what it is today. It is a month to recognize, honor, and celebrate the achievements of women in America, and do it with the support of countries like Canada and Australia. Women’s History Month is a crucial time to remind everyone of women’s important work as well as the barriers that exist to achieving gender equality. Until those barriers are broken, we need Women’s History Month on the calendar.
Who’s a woman that inspires you? Why?
Going with the theme of 2017 “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business,” I would say Indra Nooyi, Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo, is a woman that inspires me. Brought up in the socially conservative city of Madras, India, “seeking a good husband” was the goal her mother stressed upon her daughter. But her mother was also the one to instill the belief that Indra could become whoever she wanted to.
Family values and upbringing play a very integral part in any person’s life but they hold an especially crucial role in a woman’s life in developing countries.
In this world where gender discrimination is ubiquitous, Indra has achieved the top position in the world’s fourth largest company. She is a living proof that no matter who you are or where you originate from, strong will and determination is all you need to achieve your dreams.
She has continued to prove that she can fulfill the role of a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a highly successful working woman. For me, Indra Nooyi is indeed an inspiring personality to millions of young women who are fighting battles in work places every day. She has set an example that women can and should be able to achieve everything that they wish for. She is a woman who inspires me, a woman to reckon with.
-Shruti Sane, Managing Project Engineer, BlocPower