Nimisha Singh is proving that engineering jobs are genderless, irrespective of the kind of hardship, physical fitness, or stamina they demand.
A civil engineering graduate from Madan Mohan College, Nimisha now works shoulder to shoulder with her male colleagues on the Metro III line in Mumbai. However, instead of calling her the only woman civil engineer working on the field on the Metro Line, let’s call her the first. Her story, struggle and determination will undoubtedly inspire many more women to stay strong and fight stereotypes and achieve what they aspired to.
Nimisha comes from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and becoming a civil engineer was no accident for her. “I always wanted to be a civil engineer as many of my family members are associated with the field,” she told Times of India. “As a kid, I used to visit construction sites to observe the work.”
While all of her female batch mates decided to take up planning and designing, Nimisha decided that on-site work was her calling.
She began her work at the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s underground passage in 2013, working for a private firm.
“I had no prior experience as tunnelling is not taught in college. I had worked on irrigation and canal projects as an intern in college. But when I saw the advertisement on the internet about the vacancy, I straightaway applied for the job,” she told TOI.
Her challenges had just begun when she bagged the job. No, the initial challenges were not the job itself, but the prejudice of her seniors and colleagues, who thought that she might not be able to do the job at all.
“They were critical of my work, and not keen to give me exposure either. For a few weeks, they did not even allow me to work. But then some people in the firm convinced them, after which I was given access to work and the technology,” she said.
The Delhi Metro project was the beginning of a dream come true for this 26-year-old.
Today, she works as a deputy civil engineer with the MMRC (Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited), calling the shots at the Metro line between Mumbai Central and Acharya Atre Marg.
Although it was challenging to lead a team of male engineers and workers, in the beginning, Nimisha has successfully built a rapport with them. She has other challenges to face now, ones that are purely professional. She aims to be an expert on mechanised and conventional tunnelling. “I want to have [a] post-graduate degree in tunnelling technology and underground construction,” Nimisha said, adding that “I give a lot of credit to my parents as they have always encouraged me.”
Several women are breaking barriers and entering fields that were so far dominated by men. Did you know the first woman firefighter joined the force only in 2002? Or that the Indian Navy got its first woman pilot and the first batch of female officers recently?
You can read these, and more inspirational stories of barrier breakers here.
Edited by Gayatri Mishra