Women leaders in print

By 11 Mar 2020

Industry bigwigs in the print sector say there is a “tremendous scope” for women in the sector. Women at the helm of their company share their views with PrintWeek

Mrunal Kulkarni: "Every woman is a role model for me and for society"

Jennie Stevens, director- advertising, G&K–Vijuk International

Q: Is print now a better industry for women to work in? Please explain why …

Due to social mores, the printing industry, which heavily involves mechanical skills, it has been a male-dominated field in the USA. Like India, it is roughly 80/20 in favour of the men. However, as more and more females enter STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) study, there will be a shift.

Q: What’s the best way to attract more women into the sector?
It is happening already. Females at every educational level are encouraged to study STEM.

Q: Do women coming into the industry need role models? Who is your role model in our industry - and why so?
It is a personal thing based on awareness of and who you know in the printing industry. In my case, I did not know anything about the printing industry, other than being a client, and only dealt with male sales reps. I entered the industry doing advertising, but have always been strong in mechanical and mathematical skills, so I do understand the operation and workings of machinery.


Mrunal Kulkarni, director at Keetronics (India) 

Is print now a better industry for women to work in? Please explain why ...
Yes, the print industry is vast and the second largest industry in India. There is global growth in print. We are seeing giant strides in new forms like digital, printed electronics, textiles. It has tremendous scope for women because of the need of today's market. This is the era of marketing, advertisements, promotions, presentations, and in each segment, print plays a vital role. From conventional newspapers to eye-catching beautiful packages of the products in malls, showrooms, artistic wedding cards to colourful outfits, printed wedding apparel, fashionable textile, plus business card to artists portfolio, your product brochure to restaurants menu card, graphics on your water bottle to graphics on your luxury cars.

In all industry verticals, the print industry has tremendous scope. Whether being a designer, artist, print engineer, machine operator to a supervisor, type of various roles women can perform using their inherent abilities of artistic nature, sincerity, dedication. There are a number of women I have seen in various industries at different portfolios. In my organisation, we have women who are operating screen printing machines and laser devices. Our department heads are women who oversee their respective teams and verticals successfully from the last 15+ years. They have become the pillars of the Keetronic success story. According to me, this is one of the best places for women to work - and lead the ops.

What’s the best way to attract more women into the sector?
Basically the inherent capacities of a woman can make a difference. So giving them a free hand or providing a platform to enter in this industry at various levels will be the game-changer. This is because some people think women are not capable to handle “black collar” jobs like machine operations, maintenance, heavy engineering machines, post-press. But I think the most laborious, manual operations are being carried out by women in various factories. She can not only do hard work but she can also run the presses and factories successfully.

Do women coming into the industry need role models? Who is your role model in our industry?
Every woman is a role model for me and for society. She always performs best on one - or many fronts. My role model is Sudha Murthy.


Shashikala Joshi, DGM, finance and accounts, TechNova

Is print now a better industry for women to work in? Please explain why...
The strength of women in the print industry has improved. Overall, in the manufacturing sector, one finds more women in support functions like QC, R&D, Testing Labs, etc. rather than in core manufacturing or on the production line. This could be because of the nature of work, working in shifts and being perceived more of a job rather than a career option.

However, with the printing industry getting more computerised and the processes getting automated, I believe this could be a field that women can pursue as a career ... but this may take some more time. 

What’s the best way to attract more women into the sector?
This could be examined in two phases. According to me phase one is: At the entry-level large printing houses need to create strong links with schools and colleges to attract young women into the sector. They could give scholarships to the girl students for opting for printing technology & related courses. Also, organise career fairs at women’s colleges, conduct technical training programmes and seminars by women leaders from the printing industry. Also in order to attract qualified female qualified applicants, printing company’s websites should clearly reflect the company’s commitment towards gender diversity, safety measures, and practices for women, presence of active POSH committees, etc.


Sonal Sheth, director, Sheth Printographic 

Is print now a better industry for women to work in? Please explain why 
Yes, it's certainly a better industry to work in. Especially because there are well-defined courses with which one can equip themselves with a proper degree and qualifications, better working environment and opportunities.

What’s the best way to attract more women into the sector?
More and more exposure, learning opportunities at college and post-graduate levels. When more women will head the organisation, other women will be encouraged. They will automatically feel safe and secure.

Do women coming into the industry need role models? Who is your role model in our industry - and why so?
Role models are needed by everyone...be it men or women. And role models can be men and/or women. Role models guide us throughout our life. My role model is my father, HV Sheth, who shows me the path, who has guided me, provided opportunities and exposure to learn at every step. And most importantly trusted me which is most important. His only mantra was “What others can do, I can also do. Never say no.”


If you want to share your point of view about the above story or about women in print, please email: charmiane.alexander@haymarketsac.com

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