DEMAND A DEMANDING ROLE, AND PROVE YOURSELF
Gummalla Rama



  
I started my career as a planning engineer in the early 1990s. Starting with a Rs.1,000-crore project in 1990, I am currently a lead member of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation’s largest expansion project costing Rs. 20,000 crore.

In the early 1990s when I began my career, there were very few women in the sector. I was the only woman in our projects team. The environment tended to be protective towards women, and the few girls who were in project management were assigned desk jobs. We had to fight for opportunities to demonstrate our capability to handle field work. 

 
Nowadays, we see young women in project management, handling all critical aspects of projects. They are much smarter and more focused on their careers, and the environment is more supportive. Women are being encouraged and given equal opportunities.

At the start of my career, I watched my male colleagues go out into the field and realized that I was missing out on something. After several requests, I was finally given charge of the construction and commissioning of a small part of the project. It was hard work and the hours were long, but I handled it well. Since then I have received excellent support and guidance from my superiors and colleagues, and been treated as an equal.

Women professionals do find it difficult, especially during the early part of family life, to balance their roles at work and home. This leads them to take the easier path. When I approached my general manager for a less demanding role after the birth of my second daughter, he did not agree. On the contrary, he motivated me to take up a demanding role and boosted my confidence.


               

Deputy General Manager – Projects
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd