Month-long International Women’s Day 2023 celebrated by Vedanta Aluminium

Bhubaneswar: In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2023, Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, organised a month-long celebrationwith a plethora of events for its women employees and members of the local communities, themed on ‘Embrace Equity’. Vedanta Aluminiumhas always strived to enhance gender diversity within the company by basing its growth roadmapon the fundamental pillars of equitable workplace practices.

With Industry 4.0 and the global energy transition, there are exciting opportunities for professionals in the manufacturing industry. The industry offers extensivecareer options with advanced technologies, digital solutions, automation, and smart manufacturing. Vedanta Aluminium has deployed industry-leading people practices,nurturing one of the highest genderdiversity percentages in its workforce – a scenariothat is extremely unusual for the metals, mining & heavy engineering industry, where gender diversity has globally been in the low single digits. Owing to that, women professionals today are thriving in traditionally male-dominated fields such as core operations and technical roles across the business, ranging from metal production, logistics, civil work and railway infrastructure to finance, security, and commodities procurement.

The activities conducted as part of the month-long observance include:

· Augmented Reality-led Campaign:Vedanta Aluminium launched an Augmented Reality (AR)-led campaign, called ‘Vedanta Sorting Hard-Hat’, on Instagram to attract more women professionals to the manufacturing industry. Based on the ‘Thinking Hats’ concept, the campaign featured a selfie filter that matched viewers’ personalities with desirable attributes for various departments at the company. It invited them to explore career opportunities on the company’s website. The campaign aimed to improve gender diversity in the sector and focused on enhancing career prospects for women.

· CXOs for the day:31 high-potential women employees were identified and made CXOs for two days, with the current CXOs personally anchoring and mentoring them through the roles, responsibilities and decision-making processes. It gave the women an insider’s perspective into the best practices and complexities of aspirational roles which they could potentially take up a few years down the line. The company also created profilesof women leaders in focus as stories of success, leadership, inclusion, and diversity.

· Transwomen security guards recruited:Vedanta Aluminium set the ball rolling on transgender hiring at its Jharsuguda unit by recruiting 7 transgender employees into its formidable security team.Responsible for ensuring strict round-the-clock security of one of the world’s largest aluminium smelters and its workforce, they are amongst the 20 transgender employees currently employed with the company.

· Felicitating women entrepreneurs: Members of Subhalaxmi Co-operative, one of India’s largest rural women’s co-operatives supported by Vedanta Aluminium, were felicitated by Shri. Saroj Kumar Samal, District Magistrate & Collector – Jharsuguda. The most successful entrepreneurs, best-performing Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and best community mobilisers were awarded by him in the presence of Shri. Sarat Chandra Panigrahi, Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Society – Jharsuguda, Dr Subrata Biswal, Regional Head – Entrepreneurships Development Institute of India (EDII), employee volunteers of Vedanta Aluminium and other PRI (Panchayati Raj Institutions) members.The program also included an awareness session on Women’s Rights and Social Justice.

· Celebrating Odisha’s women icons: The company also felicitatedtwowomen achievers from the state of Odisha, Ms. Susmita Das – Kendriya Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-winning Odia singer, and Ms. Subhadra Pradhan – Ex-captain, India Women’s National Field Hockey Team. Both women interacted with the company’s women employees and motivated them to pursue their goals relentlessly.

· A pledge towards equity: Similarly, at the company’s Alumina Refinery operations at Lanjigarh, in Kalahandi, all field coordinators, promoters, ASHA, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Anganwadi workers werefelicitated for championing women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment. The most successful entrepreneurs were invited to present their work to members of the community to encourage them, who then collectively took a pledge to work with greater focus towards financial inclusion and the wellbeing of women.

· Project Panchhi:The company launched Project Panchhi at its operations in Lanjigarh, through which 41 young girls who had dropped out of schools after class 12 were hired by Vedanta. Along with working for Vedanta, they will be supported by the company with access to education sponsored by the company as a step towards being enabled and financially independent.

· Launch of skills development program: At Vedanta’s Nand Ghars, which are modern anganwadis that work as centres of women & child development, several fun activities and games were conducted for women, to drive home the meaning of diversity, equity and inclusion in an engaging manner, followed by the launch ofskills training program for women, promoting sustainable livelihood opportunities among rural women and creating avenues for entrepreneurship through skill development.

Reiterating Vedanta’s commitment towards gender equality, Mr. Sunil Gupta, CEO – Vedanta Ltd., Jharsuguda said, “At Vedanta Aluminium, diversity and inclusion form the twin pillars of belief and culture in our approach to gender equality. While the average global gender diversity is within the low single digits in metals, mining and heavy engineering industries, we have a healthy genderdiversity percentage owing to our industry-leading peoplepractices. We strive to extend this culture of access to equal opportunities to the local communitiesas well. Through institutions like Subhalaxmi Co-operative, our marquee project in sustainable livelihood and women empowerment, we are bringing together financial literacy, skill development, enterprise development, and more to over 4100 womenin rural India, making them participants in socio-economic development.”

Praising the members of Subhalaxmi co-operative for their achievements,Mr. Saroj Kumar Samal – District Magistrate and Collector, Jharsuguda, said,“Vedanta Aluminium’s efforts towards enabling the women in their operations and in the community to self-empower is highly appreciable. It is heartening to see the accomplishments of so many women from our community! I am very certain that Vedantaand Subhalaxmi Co-operative will continue to support the development of even more women in the days to come.”

Mr. GG Pal, Dy. CEO of Vedanta Limited – Alumina Business, said, “Our community development endeavours for women are aimed at expanding the sustainable livelihood opportunities available to women in Lanjigarh and its surrounding areas, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, Decent Work & Economic Growth, and Sustainable Communities. By enabling the financial inclusion of rural women through our ‘Sakhi’ project, Vedanta Lanjigarh is helping them become equal stakeholders in the development of their families and communities.”

Both Subhalaxmi and Sakhi are community-led institutions to enable women from local communities through skills training, financial literacy, and livelihood generation opportunities. They focus on helping women create enterprises, establish raw material and market linkages and promote their products, while guiding them towards accessing social security services and institutional credit resources. Their efforts help promote social and financial inclusion, livelihood generation, and enterprise promotion within their communities.

Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.27 million tonnes in FY22. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 2nd in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2022 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.


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