Interview: Deepika Mathur
DGM at Jakson Group
Women’s Representation and Leadership Drive Better Environmental Outcomes
June 16, 2022. By Manu Tayal
In an exclusive interaction series with women influencers in the power sector, Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India, interacted with Deepika Mathur, DGM, Jakson Group. Here’re some edited excerpts from that interaction:
Que: Kindly tell Energetica India readers in brief about yourself, your educational background, and how has been your journey so far as a woman?
Ans: I am a Postgraduate in Management from DEI. My parents are simple people. Father being in Govt service so had to travel from time to time to new places. My mother is a homemaker. I got married with Prashant in 2003 and since then I am blessed with very caring two mothers and two fathers. My kids are also copies of their grandparents.
Currently a part of Jakson Group in DEB division taking care of Solar Rooftop Business.
Talking about my journey as a woman in professional life…. has been truly amazing. There have been some lows…obviously, it’s part of any journey and some very high moments. Being a woman, we have the inbuilt capability power to face any situation and come out with flying colours. I wouldn’t say that it was a smooth drive but the hurdles were a sort of motivation to achieve my ambitions in any situation.
Que: In your view, how more women’s participation can be achieved in contributing toward a sustainable future?
Ans: No doubt, that at the national level and at the local level as well, women’s representation and leadership drive better environmental outcomes. A strong, as well as sensitive leader, can make better policies that will help in a sustainable future. Women are by nature consider the community and families before taking any crucial decision, which is important to producing the kind of holistic solutions that make for effective climate action. Well-educated and qualified women, in particular, possess unique knowledge about agriculture, conservation and natural resource management that make their voices indispensable in any decision-making process.
In the United Nations report as well it was highlighted that more women in our parliament can force to adopt stricter climate change policies, resulting in lower emissions. At the local level, women’s participation in managing natural resources leads to more equitable and inclusive resource governance and better conservation outcomes And when we involve women in national or community climate programmes, they tend to be more effective and efficient in their use of resources.
The renewable energy industry should be offering diverse, rewarding job opportunities for women. But progress in increasing women’s employment, engagement and participation has clearly been slow.
Que: What do you want to say to other women on joining the green energy industry wrt scope? What skill sets do they require?
Ans: It’s a great industry to be in. You have the inbuilt skills to compete and make a difference in sustainable energy. Women are usually passionate about clean and safe surroundings. The renewable/ green industry is essentially about keeping our environment clean and intact.
It’s a growing industry with a huge future scope and needs skilled manpower. Nowadays many of them are taking up courses related to renewable energy, be it technical or management. Women who want to join this industry should have industry-relevant educational courses and good knowledge about the current policies and latest technology in this field.
Que: How do you see the challenge of the availability of the right kind of skilled manpower in the renewables industry? What more could be done to tap this as an opportunity?
Ans: As per a recent study, the Indian renewable energy sector has the potential to employ around one million people by 2030, but at the same time, we have a scarcity of skilled manpower to fill in these jobs. As per the study conducted by NRDC, the unavailability of appropriately skilled manpower has been identified as one of the most prominent challenges in hiring required personnel in the renewable energy industry.
The quality of most teaching programmes is not up to the required standard and does not match industry needs. Many training institutes are also located too far away from where the jobs are for aspirants to take advantage of them. As it's primarily a field-based industry, jobs in the energy sector require a wide range of qualifications and skills, as well as the ability to think holistically when identifying sustainable solutions.
More relevant courses in institutions beginning from the school level with on-the-job training opportunities will help to tap the right talent. Technical and soft skills both are required in this field.
Que: How important is the role of the family in maintaining a balance between office work and family life for a working woman?
Ans: It is certainly an important factor for success in your professional journey. A supportive family helps to grow in the professional life. At the same time, we have to strike balance between work and family and it is applicable to both genders. We cannot overdo in our jobs and make the kids or elderly suffer at home. In the case of joint families, it becomes easy for working women to balance work and household tasks. Nowadays we have the facility of house helpers but if you have parents/ family to supervise kids and house chores it becomes easy to focus on the professional front.
Que: In your view, what are the biggest challenges in the rooftop solar sector in India?
Ans: There are a number of hurdles in the Rooftop Solar sector in India. To name a few:
1. Frequent Policy changes
2. Increased GST which impacts the investment cost and payback period.
3. Inconsistent rules on Net/Gross Metering. This is so confusing.
4. Financing for Rooftop Solar in the C&I sector is a major problem.
5. Lack of consumer awareness and an overall lack of uniform standards.
Que: What is your outlook on the renewable energy sector for FY 2022-23?
Ans: As per the last year’s record, this sector has gained momentum again and coming out of the crisis of scarcity of materials. However, the costs are still on the higher side. As the investments are pouring into the renewable energy sector, new technologies are coming up and better solutions are available now. Big industries are having targets to go Carbon neutral and the government is also pushing for renewable energy. The PLI scheme is one such big step from the government. If we look overall and holistically, renewable energy will grow at a faster pace to recover the losses.
Que: Biggest supporter and critic who helped you in making you stronger? Any role model or inspirational person?
Ans: My mother and my husband are my pillars of strength and the critic at the same time. Always encourages me to achieve more and correct my mistakes. I have learned practical aspects of everything in life from both of them. I didn’t have any role model as such but our PM Sh. Narendra Modi Ji inspire a lot. Looking at him, anyone can get inspired. So much energy and determination to achieve the goal! We can learn to utilise every possible resource to get the desired output from him.
Que: In your view, what could be the reason behind few women found in leadership roles in the renewable energy space?
Ans: Yes! There are very few women in this sector. Reasons could be: women experience biased social norms and expectations; childcare/home responsibilities mean women have less time and/or mobility; and there are few/no role models for students or professional women. Also, lack of adequate facilities/equipment for women; sexual harassment; gender bias in recruitment and promotion processes in some cases; a lack of internship/training opportunities are a few reasons. Perception of the renewable energy sector could be one reason as this is a niche industry but not well organised. So, job security and stability in the current volatile situation in the renewable energy sector may prevent them to take a job.
At an entry-level stage, the industry fails to attract highly qualified female talent; at the mid-career stage, the sector struggles to retain female employees; and at the senior level, the industry fails to offer viable options to female employees looking for promotion opportunities.
Que: Lastly, what keeps you motivated?
Ans: My family and my passion to give more to the community. Also, I really like working in the Solar sector. It is so satisfying to see a happy consumer using solar power for his power requirements and reducing carbon footprints.
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