Ramadevi, a gender diversity icon in steel industry

Despite facing challenges, including a low representation of women in her college batch pursuing this profession, Ramadevi persevered.

VISAKHAPATNAM: Decades after embarking on her professional journey as a management trainee at Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) in 1989, G Ramadevi has received the Gender Diversity Icon Award of the Indian Steel Association, achieving a remarkable milestone in career.Ramadevi, General Manager (PPM and CTQM) at RINL, was also bestowed with the Wings of Steel Award by the Indian Steel Association recently. Reflecting on her achievements, Ramadevi said, “I knew that I won the Wings of Steel Award, but only about the Icon after I went to New Delhi to receive the award. I feel humbled to receive the awards.”

Ramadevi, born in Srikakulam, and brought up in Visakhapatnam, pursued her undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies at Andhra University. During the initial years of her master’s programme, she took an RINL entrance test and succeeded. She chose to join RINL after completing two semesters of her postgraduate studies, and later completed the remaining two semesters while being employed at the company.

Sharing her experiences during the 34-year journey in a field where the representation of women is relatively lower than in other sectors, she said, “I consider everything an experience, be it an up or a down. Mistakes have educated me, and positive experiences have propelled my personal and professional growth. Notable challenges in my journey include dealing with the Hudhud cyclone in 2014 and the recent Covid-19 pandemic.”

She highlighted the continuous operation requirement in the steel industry, particularly during the pandemic. “Monitoring has been a significant challenge. During the first wave, we faced challenges with shifts and uncertainty about who could come to work. The second wave brought new challenges despite everyone following protocols,” she explained.She emphasised that while ups and downs are inherent in everyone’s life, the ability to learn from them and derive lessons from them is crucial to personal and professional resilience.

Despite facing challenges, including a low representation of women in her college batch pursuing this profession, Ramadevi persevered. Out of five women in her batch, four chose alternative career paths, citing the perceived unsuitability of the sector for women. In response, Ramadevi offered advice to those willing to embrace challenges, underscoring the importance of determination, work ethics, and focus in navigating a professional landscape that pose gender-related challenges. “Work ethics and focus are the keys to sustaining and growing in a profession. Integrity and concentration at work yield fruitful results,” she observed.

She achieved a significant milestone by becoming first woman to head Production Planning and Monitoring (PPM) Department in Operations Directorate in 2017. Her contributions were recognised with Jawaharlal Nehru Award for Best Employee in 2008 and Woman of Excellence in Public Sector Award in 2016.

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