SVPITM-NCW Seminar on Role of women in upliftment of Textile Industry

Excerpt: The entrepreneurs, employees of textile organization, members of research associations, academicians, research scholars and students were the target audience.

National Commission for Women, Government of India and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International School of Textiles and Management (SVPITM) has jointly organized a national level Seminar on Role of Women in Upliftment of Textile Industry at SVPITM auditorium. The seminar was organized on 22 March.

The entrepreneurs, employees of textile organization, members of research associations, academicians, research scholars and students were the target audience. A total of 300 participants were benefitted by the event.

The seminar started with a prayer song which was followed by a welcome address was delivered by Dr. Venkatalakshmi, Head - Management. The presidential address was delivered by Dr. C. Rameshkumar, Director – SVPITM. Mr. Mohanraj, Head-Textiles, SVPITM, deliberated the participants on the various outcomes of the programme.

The chief guest of the day was Mr. Raja. M. Shanmugham, President, TEA and BoG member of SVPITM. During his speech he deliberated on the various scope and opportunities of the garment industry. He also emphasized on the various factors which were the key to development of an export hub like Tirupur.

The guest of Honor, Ms. Supriya Radharaman, Chief Operating Officer, The house of Angadi, Angadi Ventures, Bangalore, in her speech emphasized on the empowerment of women. She also mentioned examples of various personalities like Ms. Papul Jaykar and Ms. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. Even though these personalities had restrictions they were able to keep their best foot forward and establish their ambitions. She advised the participants to follow two rules namely, Be a conscious consumer, Be an awareness advocate.

The first session started with a welcome address by Ms. V. Mathangi, faculty – Management, SVPITM followed by four speakers namely,

  • Ms.M.Unnamalai, Partner & CEO, Aster Apparels, Coimbatore

  • Ms.Vijayalakshmi Nachiar, Founder, Ethicus, Appachi Eco-Logic Cotton Pvt. Ltd., Pollachi
  • Ms. Uma Sekar, Managing Director, Avaneetha Textiles Private Limited, Coimbatore
  • Ms. Neha Kapil, Sr. Scientific Officer, North Indian Textile Research Association (NITRA), Centre of Excellence for Protech, Ghaziabad.

Ms. S. Unnamalai presented on the topic, 'Starting up Business - Decision to Success'. She gave a lot of case studies involving Steve Jobs, who during his initial days quit Apple to start another company because he did not have people with his kind of vision. She also encouraged the participants to put their best foot forward and work towards becoming entrepreneurs. A lot of ideas are currently generated by today's youngsters but most of it is not viable. She advised the participants to come up with viable ideas so that they can find a suitable investor. She also shared the hardships she faced while starting her own company, Aster Apparels. Since she is manufacturing kids' garments they had to face a lot of hardships to sustain in the business. Her speech was a source of inspiration for the participants.

Ms.Vijayalakshmi Nachiar, presented on the topic, 'Ethics and Sustainability in Textile Business'. She emphasized on the use of sustainable clothing methods. Nowadays we use diapers and sanitary napkins which are usually disposed off and ends up in garbage or landfills. These products have polymers which usually take years to degrade. So usage of such product would be avoided and replaced with reusable resources. She pointed out that in the olden days, recycling of clothes and other items was a habit. People even used to recycle water bottles for refilling. But now all these items are either thrown out, burned which emits harmful gases or disposed of as landfills. She revealed the fact that cotton is subjected to nearly 16 processes before it is put on the garment table for sewing. There are a lot of people involved in converting the fiber to garment. So recycling of used garments helps in sustainable living.

Ms. Neha Kapil presented on the topic, 'Role of women in textile research – road ahead'. She stated that Research need not always be related to education, science and technology and it can be carried out by anyone, even uneducated. There are number of examples which show that remarkable research work to be carried out by uneducated people and the actual research idea sprang from day to day life requirements. As we go back on the timeline of history, research on Textiles had started long back when humans started to ponder about the instincts of survival.

She revealed various facts involving research areas where women are employed. Her domain of research was regarding riot control garments. In this regards she helped the participants understand the need for protective garments for women. According to the fact there are around 16000 personnel who are women. These personnel are mostly working towards riot controlling. So providing safety equipment for their use and comfort holds the primary objective.

Ms. Uma Sekar presented on the topic, 'Women Entrepreneurs: Business Challenges and Opportunities'. She emphasized on the various challenges faced by her during the establishment of her company Avaneetha Textiles. She also stated that she had been involved in the plantation of 85000 trees and has planned to plant more than 5 lakh trees. She shared her part of the story of how she was involved in transforming a 3600 spindle spinning industry into a 60000 spindle spinning industry.

Finally the session ended with a rapporteur session by the session chairman, Ms.M.Unnamalai, Partner & CEO, Aster Apparels, Coimbatore. There was a Q & A session where the participants were allowed to write and circulate the questions for which the panel provided the answers

The second session started with a welcome address by Ms. R. Anitha, faculty, SVPITM and was followed by four speakers namely,

  • Ms. Archana Prasad, Head of the Department, Costume Design & Fashion, AJK College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore
  • Ms. Krishnapriya, VM Creative Designer, Lifestyle International, Bangalore.
  • Ms. Poonam Paul, Sr. Manager ( Systems), Vardhman yarns and threads, Punjab
  • Ms. Aparna Sunku, Founder, Studio 'A', Coimbatore

Ms. Archana Prasad presented on the topic, 'Women Empowerment in Textile Industry'. She stated that women since ages have been struggling to be socially and professionally recognized as equivalent to men. Women have embarked on a new journey to discover and unravel their talents through their dedication and hard work despite being bound with family obstacles and social drawbacks. Even though women today share equal status as men, the day-to-day challenges that women are still forced to face, makes women's empowerment one of the top most priorities of any civilized society. The term “Women Empowerment” refers to empowering women with education, employment, decision making, and better health in view of an equal and just society.

Women Empowerment is a process to make the women financially independent, educated and progressive, enjoying a good social status. The textile and garment industry has been significant to India, contributing 14 percent to industrial production, four percent to India's GDP and constituting 13 percent of the country's export earnings. According to an article published in Marie Claire, there are over 6,500 textile factories currently operating in India, generating employment opportunities for millions of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. In India, female labour force participation in garment factories is also on the rise, with new entrants tending to be disproportionately female. As of 2013, eight million people in India were employed in the garment industry of which 60 percent were women.

Ms. Poonam Paul presented on the topic, 'Women in Management as a Strategic HR Initiative'. She stated that the work environment, across the world, is in disarray. In many organizations, employee engagement is dramatically low, stress and health problems are rampant, innovation and customer care are lagging, the talent pool is shrinking, rotation and absenteeism are high, and the well-being of workers, as well as the bottom line are suffering.

The Indian textiles industry is extremely varied, with the hand-spun and hand-woven textiles sectors at one end of the spectrum, while the capital-intensive sophisticated mills sector at the other end of the spectrum. The decentralized power looms/ hosiery and knitting sector form the largest component of the textiles sector. Indian Textile industry which is the second largest contributes of employment to 45 million people with nearly half of workforce as women.

The Indian government has come up with a number of export promotion policies for the textiles sector, 381 new blocks level clusters and 20 new textile parks. The Indian textiles industry, currently estimated at around US$ 150 billion, is expected to reach US$ 250 billion by 2019. This will come up with increased employment opportunities and hence creating more jobs.

Although women make up 90% of the workforce in Garment industry (a sub sector of textile industry), they found that over 90% of upper and middle management were men. With hostile working environment faced by women workers while earning a living, women safety has emerged as a subject of priority for most organizations.

Ms.Krishnapriya presented on the topic, 'Women in Retail: The Case for Challenging Inequality'. She stated that the women drive 70-80% of the consumer spending through their power and influence. She established fact on the women contribution in the corporate sector where 54.8% of them are in the industry labor force, 42.1% are in the first/mid-level officials and managers, 28.9% are in the executive level, 19.9% are in the board seats and 5.6% are in the CEO level. According to the survey people believe that women encounter double standards as they look to rise up the corporate ladder. This holds true even though the majority of people believe women possess the same key leadership traits as men and are better at being honest and ethical in leadership roles. Women have different skill sets than men, and can bring a unique perspective to any organization. Katia Beauchamp, CEO of beauty retailer Birchbox, told that having women in leadership positions creates a diverse balance in leadership that in turn offers new perspectives to challenges and opportunities. Ms.Aparna Sunku, presented on the topic, 'Future Fit, Socially Responsible Fashion Designers'. She stated that fashion, ethics & accountability are a very complex phenomenon. Fashion designers today are running after name, fame and money and totally forget about their social responsibility, due to which there is a total compromise on so many things. The focus is on the latest trends and saleability only. This should change. Today's fashion designer students are tomorrow's designers who will be designing in the immediate future. So, the idea lies in catching them young. It is the duty of fashion educators to instill and incorporate the ethical side of design at the student level itself. In fact, it begins from the cultivation stage itself. Fashion faculty must sow the seeds of ethical design practice by adding this subject to their curriculum and create awareness. The whole change is not going to happen overnight or by one person or a group of persons. It is a whole lifestyle change by the citizens of our country which will make this possible. Handloom fabrics and organic fabrics are much expensive than the cheap alternatives because of the time and effort that goes into it. Here is where the government has to step in and provide concessions and subsidies to people involved in the making and designing of ethical garments. Many prominent designers have taken to revival of handlooms and are playing their role as social influencers on the society. Finally, the present generation has to follow the simple thumb rule that “what was good for your grandparents back then is good for your children and grandchildren in the years to come”. Finally the session ended with a rapporteur session by the session chairman, Ms.Archana Prasad. There was a Q & A session where the participants were allowed to write and circulate the questions for which the panel provided the answers. The third session started with a welcome address by Ms. M. Bhuvaneshwari, Faculty, SVPITM. Ms. M. Varnaya Devi, Varuni Boutique, Coimbatore delivered a presentation onArt and Craft in Indian Textiles. She stated that India is known for its rich heritage and diversified crafts with its own authenticity. Crafts of Indian states are innumerable and have attained commercial proportions globally. Craft making is an integral part of Indian culture and traditions, which has withstood the test of time, and this tradition has passed on from generation to generation. The Indian craftsmen are adept in manufacturing diverse crafts, which have attracted the attention of connoisseurs of craft all over the world. There are so many different beautiful authentic textiles in India like bandhini, ikkat, kashida, phulkari etc. These textiles are weaved or knitted, painted, printed, dyed or embroidered. Some of the woven textiles are Banarasi, kanjeevaram, pochampally, ikkat, paithani and many more. Some of the painted and printed textiles are kalamkari, dabhu printing, ajrak printing. Some of the dyed textiles are bandhini, garcholas, leharia, batik. Among these hundreds of native textiles let us get to know about paithani. Paithani is considered to be royalty among sarees, Paithani sarees hold a treasured place in the trousseau of a Maharashtrian bride. Symbolizing the spirit of true Maharashtrian culture. Paithani is the 'Queen of Silks' it is called so rightly because only royals and aristocrats once wore it. The Paithani weave is done by tapestry weaving technique with silk and zari threads. Paithani weaving is very time consuming process that could take anywhere from a month to two years to create a saree.

The final session ended with a valedictory address by Ms. Varnaya Devi. The Vote of thanks was delivered by Ms. V. Prithika, Faculty, SVPITM.