The fight for gender equality has always been a topic of the discussion for the last many years. Women, however, have been breaking all the stereotypes of gender roles by realising their true potential. One such example is Dr Viney Kirpal, who has made a significant effort to fight for the benefit of students ever since she joined IIT Bombay. After leaving IIT, she founded an organisation called the Great Research Education and Training (GREAT) Foundation in Pune, focusing mainly on giving the best education, material resources and training to underprivileged school children and their teachers to help them realise their full potential and become professionals.
In a recent discussion with her, we asked her questions on Gender equality and women’s role in society, and this is what she had to say:
What inspired you to make the decision of getting into the social sector?
My motivation was born in the classrooms of IIT Bombay where I experienced the pain of students who had joined under the affirmative action system but had to leave after 3 to 4 years because of continued poor performance. Their poor performance had to do with the political decision to take students who did not even have the basic foundation in Science, Math and English. How could they do well in IIT? The schools they had come from were responsible for this state. I realised that the students had not had a fair opportunity to excel or realise their desired ambition. Perhaps they would never have joined IIT had the cutoff point at the JEE not been as low as zero then. Witness to the tragedy in their lives, I decided that I would do something for children who went to poor schools and help them get into elite institutions on merit. So when I took voluntary retirement from IIT
Bombay, I thought of setting up an NGO to provide quality teaching in English, Math and Science. GREAT Foundation was set up on 6 March, 2017- exactly 15 years ago. Through our initiatives in quality education, we want less privileged students to be achievers, we want them to have the best education and all the necessary support and training that is usually not available to them. We want to create a level playing field for them through good education. That’s how I got into the social sector.
How difficult is to manage your professional and personal life since you work in the social sector?
It isn’t difficult at all! I was always very sure I would like to work. So I planned for it. I believe in delegation –at work and in the home. At work people like to learn new skills; so I delegating tasks to them and develop them to take on new roles while I move on to something else. At home, I keep a couple of servants, look after them well and they look after my home! It has been quite easy therefore to manage both fronts.
Would you recommend other women to also work in the social sector?
Yes, absolutely! Women have done very well in the social sector. Perhaps a larger number of NGOs have been set up by women than by men. Care giving comes naturally to women. In a lighter vein, GREAT Foundation donors are men but our team is an all- woman force.
What is your definition of #PowerInYou?
#PowerInYou for me is basically three steps- FACE IT, FIGHT IT, FINISH IT. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my views.
We have much to do, much to be and much to achieve. Are you ready to bring out the #PowerInYou on this IWD 2017 and beyond?