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Jindal Stainless’ 1st woman overhead crane operator gets ‘Wings of Steel’ award



The Indian Steel Association (ISA) on Tuesday conferred its ‘Wings of Steel’ award to Jindal Stainless’ first woman overhead crane operator Minu Mohanta under the ‘Gender and Diversity’ category.

Union Steel Secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha presented her the award for “perseverance and steely resolve” in overcoming challenging circumstances and for being an inspiration for many.

Mohanta was born to a mason father, married at the age of 14 and widowed at 25. She was also conferred the Jury’s Special Award for showing determination and resilience in the face of adversity at the 4th edition of the ISA‘s Steel Conclave held in New Delhi.

Mohanta, started working as a stone crusher in a quarry for six years before joining Jindal Stainless — India’s largest stainless steel manufacturer — as part of its housekeeping team for the steel melting shop in 2011.

Driven by her inquisitiveness and a desire to learn machine operation, she quickly adapted to managing engine-powered cleaning vehicles. She took inspiration from her supervisor and fellow women colleagues and expressed her interest in tackling one of the most demanding plant operations, the management of overhead cranes within the plant, which was traditionally dominated by men. Remarkably, she mastered the skill of operating overhead cranes in just one month and dedicated the subsequent months to perfecting it, shattering gender stereotypes.

On receiving the award, Mohanta said, “This is a big day for me…. I just want to say that there is no alternative for women but to be brave. I am thankful for the opportunity I have been given at Jindal Stainless and I am committed to creating an army of women who choose courage over fear.”

Jindal Stainless Managing Director Abhyuday Jindal said, “It fills me with immense pride that ISA has identified the resilience and courage that Minu exhibits. Hers is a story of enormous strength and unparalleled dedication towards her work. At Jindal Stainless, we aim to encourage more women to sign up for such challenging tasks, defy conventional norms and serve as shining example of inspiration for others.”

Mohanta has a daughter and a son in their 20s and married. Currently, she lives with her in-laws and son. She provides training to other women at the plant and encourages them to opt for jobs that have traditionally been male-dominated. The ISA has emerged as a platform for Indian iron and steel industry that facilitates issues, concerns and challenges common to its members with government and other stakeholders within and outside India.

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