Roots and Wings – Inspiring Stories of Indian Women in Engineering

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Are you wondering if engineering, science, or business will work as a career choice for a young woman? Do you question if a woman can pursue a successful career in these fields while enjoying a satisfying family life and still find a way to make meaningful social contributions? Then this book, which chronicles the lives and careers of women who managed to do just that, is the one for you.

These 29 women all graduated from the oldest engineering college in India sometime between 1943 and 1971. This was a difficult time for these pioneering women to pursue their chosen path, yet they all went on to make their mark in their unique ways in various fields of work in India as well as the USA. Overcoming several obstacles to their careers, they managed to find a good balance between family and work. A few were, and are, also great community leaders. Their lives are models of courage, initiative, perseverance, innovation, entrepreneurship, resilience and flexibility.  Enjoy the stories of these courageous women and be inspired.


Shantha for web

Shantha Mohan, Ph.D., is a seasoned technical executive and entrepreneur with expertise in software engineering and operations management. A staunch believer in gender equality, throughout her life she never gave a thought to being a woman and went about securing her place in the corporate world in the USA, often the only woman at the table.

In 2017, after retiring from the company she co-founded, Shantha started mentoring students and young professionals and decided to work on spreading the word on female-engineer role models for young women. The result is this book in which she presents the life stories of her fellow alumnae from College of Engineering, Guindy, in Chennai, India. It includes her life story as well.

The first life story in this book is about A. Lalitha, who is celebrated as the first Indian woman engineer of India. Here is a picture of her touring the AEI’s (Associated Electrical Industries) British factory as it appeared in the newspaper Hitavada in 1964. Newspaper cutting courtesy of Syamala Chenulu, Lalitha’s daughter.

Lalitha-UK API-edited-captioned

The second story in the collection of inspiring stories is about P.K. Thressia, the first woman Chief Engineer in Kerala’s Public Works Department (PWD). Here is a look at the Malayla Manorama announcement of her promotion. Clipping courtesy of Panachi Jose Panachipuram, Kerala Sahithya Academy Award in 2005 for the novel Kannadiyile Mazha.

MM announcement