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During the celebration of International Women’s Day in DUB Delhi on 8 March 2022, CMD and Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal said that over the years a lot has been achieved towards gender equality but a much more need to be done. Dr Mittal exhorted all to work in a faster pace and with a sense of purpose to create a gender neutral society.

Women energy soldiers of ONGC along with the CMD and members of the Board
Women energy soldiers of ONGC along with the CMD and members of the Board

The celebration of the International Women’s day was graced by the presence of CMD and Director (HR) and Patron WDF Dr Alka Mittal, Director (Exploration) R K Srivastava, Director (T&FS) O P Singh, Director (Onshore) and Director (Finance) Anurag Sharma, OVL Director (Exploration) Sanjeev Tokhi, ED-Chief Security Dr Baljit Singh, IPS, Chairperson WDF Shashi Prasad, key executives and women employees of ONGC. Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar joined the celebration virtually from Mumbai. Executives from all work centers of ONGC also joined through virtual medium.

From Right: ED-Chief Security, OVL Director (Exploration), Director (T&FS), CMD & Director (HR), Director (Exploration), Director (Onshore) & Director (finance) and Chairperson WDF
From Right: ED-Chief Security, OVL Director (Exploration), Director (T&FS), CMD & Director (HR),
Director (Exploration), Director (Onshore) & Director (finance) and Chairperson WDF

CMD Dr Mittal said that the participation of women in the core operations of ONGC is gradually improving and ONGC now have women employees at all disciplines, even on the field. Stating that many women employees at ONGC have themselves volunteered for field role, Dr Mittal said that this will be a major boost in their career as they can only rise up the ladder of success by working on the frontline and taking tough decisions. Dr Mittal mentioned that years back the management was thinking of organizing special recruitment drive for women but they themselves denied stating that they only need a fair chance.

Dr Mittal shared his own experience while she worked at difficult fields like Mumbai and North East. “I had myself opted to get transferred at the North East and it had been a phenomenal experience for me. Working at work centers like Mumbai and North East offers tremendous exposure to taking tough decisions. This helped me majorly in growing as a professional,” she said.

CMD, Director (HR) and WDF Patron Dr Alka Mittal addressing the august gathering
CMD, Director (HR) and WDF Patron Dr Alka Mittal addressing the august gathering

Dr Mittal exhorted women employees of ONGC to focus on getting better and bring out the best out of them. She said that while working in synergy there should be both collaboration and competition. “Your main competition should be with yourself. All support you need from the organization will be provided to you but when the organization needs your strength, you should deliver your best,” said Dr Mittal.

Dr Mittal further asserted that ONGC is committed to make the workplace safe and healthy for the women employees. She cited ONGC initiatives like the buddy system in which two women are deputed in the same shift at offshore bases, providing transport for women employees, success story sharing platform, etc. “These small initiatives don’t cost the company much but brings in tremendous change to encourage and motivate women employees. We are further thinking of implementing more initiatives like pink car service for women working in night shifts,” she added.

Director (Exploration) R K Srivastava said that the journey to breach the gap and bring in gender equality is still in progress. He said that the International Women’s Day is the day to salute those women who worked hard breaking gender biases and stereotypes. Citing a few legendary women from the history, Mr Srivastava said that the question of feminism and women empowerment was not relevant in the ancient times. He said that the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, will stay relevant for quiet sometimes to come.

Director (Exploration) RK Srivastava delivering his address
Director (Exploration) RK Srivastava delivering his address

Director (Onshore) and Director (Finance) Anurag Sharma said that the celebration of the day is just a reminder for all to respect women in different roles, from a homemaker to working professionals. He urged all to carry out the practice on day to day basis. He said that the gender diversity in the oil & gas sector has improved in the past few years. “Earlier, there were hardly any woman in the energy sector and now the numbers have improved subsequently,” he said.

Director (Onshore) and Director (Finance) interacting with the women employees of ONGC
Director (Onshore) and Director (Finance) interacting with the women employees of ONGC

Sharing global data, Mr Sharma mentioned that today there are around 22 per cent women in the oil and gas sector. “The number are slightly less in ONGC but it is growing swiftly,” he said adding that shorty there will be three management position for women in the Board of ONGC. Mr Sharma said that gender diversity should be maintained in organization to build better business.

Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar cited mythology and history to note that we belong to a culture where women had always been put at greater stature. He said that women are powerful emotionally and should stand by the men to take the society ahead. Mr Kumar shared several achievements of women at ONGC, like how they voluntarily chose challenging roles, leadership roles played by women at ONGC, etc. “You should look within yourself to find out how powerful you are and no one else should point it out to you,” he exhorted.

Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar addressing the gathering virtually from Mumbai
Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar addressing the gathering virtually from Mumbai

Director (Exploration) of ONGC Videsh Limited Sanjeev Tokhi said that the women’s day celebration is the observance of the inherent strength and enormous capability of women. He said it is a pleasure to have a woman as the head of the ONGC family. Mr Tokhi mentioned that he had been associated with the Women’s Development Forum (WDF) for over two decades and his wife, also an ONGCian, is one of the founding members of it.

OVL Director (Exploration) delivering his address
OVL Director (Exploration) delivering his address

“Today while we are celebrating this day my wife is celebrating it in her own way, in a desert in Abu Dhabi, for the exploration and production of oil and gas. This is the kind of power and commitment a woman possesses,” said Mr Tokhi. He added that young officers taking lead in managerial roles gives the reason to believe that ONGC is focused towards gender equality.

ED-Chief Security Dr Baljit Singh, IPS, said that it was a privilege for him to stand on the dais on the occasion both being an ONGCians and the father of two daughters. Stating that he has been serving in the police for over 25 years, Dr Singh said that these days there are rising number of women as the in-charges despite the difficulty. He said that women should not define themselves as a woman but rather as a human being first.

ED-Chief Security Dr Baljit Singh, IPS, interacting with the women employees
ED-Chief Security Dr Baljit Singh, IPS, interacting with the women employees

Mentioning that there are now 2083 women employees in ONGC, Dr Singh said that women oriented activities at corporate level should be encouraged. He said that this year’s celebration of the International Women’s Day is even special as ONGC has Dr Alka Mittal, a woman, leading the organization from the top.

Earlier delivering the Welcome Address, Chairperson WDF Shashi Prasad said Dr Alka Mittal being the captain of the mammoth ship ONGC depicts that the Maharatna has taken the lead in the world to showcase the strength of women in leadership role. She said that there is an immediate need to change the climate of gender equality to bring in a sustainable future. She said that ONGC offers equitable work culture in respect of gender and the WDF believes in taking inclusive stage in the society.

Chairperson WDF Shashi Prasad delivering the Welcome Address
Chairperson WDF Shashi Prasad delivering the Welcome Address

Also during the celebration of the International Women’s Day, CMD and Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal launched the new Women Development Forum (WDF) web portal. The portal encapsulates the activities in ONGC for the empowerment of women in ONGC and other organizations. This digital platform can be used for information and knowledge sharing, as a discussion forum and communication channel.