By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Dehradun, 5 Feb: UPES announced the launch of ‘Shakti’ – an initiative to empower women through implementation of multiple activities in the areas of training, development and scholarships. The initiative was launched at a national level by the UPES Corporate Office, New Delhi, on 4 February with the theme, ‘Accelerating the Gender Equality Journey: Empowering Women from Classroom to Boardroom’. The event attracted change-makers from the government, industry and academia to further the agenda of women’s empowerment by institutions of higher learning.
The event was inaugurated jointly by MP Meenakshi Lekhi; Bollywood actress Tisca Chopra; Sharad Mehra, Chairman, Hydrocarbons Education & Research Society (HERS); and Dr SJ Chopra, Chancellor, UPES. An engaging discussion on ‘Women Empowerment’ was moderated by Dipti Nair – Editor, YourStory, which had Dr Renu Batra – Additional Secretary, UGC; Talish Ray – Founding Partner, TRS Law Offices; Rajashree Rao – Head of Partnerships & Ecosystem (APAC) R² Data Labs, Rolls Royce; Vidhu Goyal – Founder & Partner, WONK App;. Meenakshi Gupta – CoFounder, Goonj; and Dr Vijay Kumar Singh – Dean, School of Law, UPES, as the panelists. The discussion focused upon the narrative of women empowerment in the present era and how the change needs to be initiated from the grassroots level. It reiterated the importance of education for women to bring the change that the society seeks for today and break the glass ceilings to achieve their dreams.
“I congratulate UPES on the launch of Shakti that will create equal prospects for women all across. There is a strong need to not just provide opportunities but also recognise the efforts and results throughout their journey. It is equally important for men to be equal partners. Initiatives like Shakti are a step forward in addressing this issue and bridging the gender gap by empowering women in the real sense,” said Meenakshi Lekhi.
Applauding ‘Shakti’, Tisca Chopra appreciated the UPES belief that educational institutions and boardrooms should reflect diversity and bring more women into the corporate fold. “Education is an important aspect in the overall development of an individual because it provides power to analyse and question. I congratulate UPES for their initiative to provide 25 percent scholarship exclusively for all female students. Discussion around gender disparity is still new in India and initiatives like ‘Shakti’ shall surely play a vital role in bridging the gender gap and addressing the matters that are of major concern,” she declared.
Dr Chopra spoke of UPES’ commitment to the cause of women empowerment. “UPES is running several women-centric CSR programmes such as ‘Project Payal’ – promoting education for the girl child; ‘Project Samvedna’ – providing day-care to the children of construction workers working at UPES sites; ‘Project Vikalp’ – skilling of rural women towards economic empowerment; ‘Project Protsaahan’ – lending support to the meritorious students from PYDS Academy of Learning, Dehradun, and many more,” he shared. “UPES is among the few universities in India that run formal leadership training for its women faculty and staff members under the initiative ‘Shakti’. This yearlong module-based programme helps women employees adopt leadership roles by combining their intrinsic qualities with the right skills and knowledge. UPES is seriously considering opening-up this programme to other institutions.”
Sharad Mehra revealed that UPES currently supports 49 under-privileged girls from the villages neighbouring its campuses at Dehradun, in their education and holistic development through financial support for their academics and many other extra-curricular activities.
Briefing the local media on the event, Arun Dhand, Senior Director, UPES, shared that, right from its inception, UPES has been committed to promoting women empowerment initiatives. The initiative was launched from New Delhi as it provides for female students pan India to take advantage of professional education being offered by UPES with an unconditional scholarship of 25 percent.