First woman carpenter from Manipur is breaking the gender stereotypes. Who is she?

rk penmila

"I love carpentry work and room decorations and I am all out for this.” - says a girl from North-east. Girl? and Carpentry? Yes! Don't be so shocked even now, when women are proving their worth in numerous spheres untouched by females to date. RK Penmila, a young woman from Manipur has taken up the profession that is designated to date only for males. Let's peep into the world of RK Penmila who loves scales, wooden pieces, and files. 

The Girl from North-east: 

RK Penmila hails from East Tusom village, Kamjong District in Manipur. Her father is RK Peter who has always been a pillar of strength to the young girl. Penmila completed her Class 12 and went on to pursue her BA degree from Liberal College, Imphal. Post her graduation, she was still clueless about her career choice due to a lack of proper career guidance. She went on to do a one-year diploma course in Designing at Hamstech Institute of Fashion and Interior Design, Hyderabad. Being the only girl from North-east, Penmila faced a lot of struggle in the alien land. She feels grateful to her parents for their unrelenting support in keeping her going. While she was pursuing the course, she was drawn to carpentry. Further, to hone her skills and embrace what she loved, she pursued another year of diploma course in Carpentry from Don Bosco Technical School, Shillong. 

The Woman Carpenter: 

While gender stereotypes exist in every society and discrimination in jobs is also widely seen everywhere even today, Tangkhul society, to which Penmila belonged, is no exception. Carpentry is considered a profession for males. Penmila realized that with an increase in population and standard of living in Manipur, perfectly designed and furnished pieces are in high demand. Likewise, skilled craftsmen also started to be in high demand. The need for carpenters who can cater to the modern taste of the clients is emerging faster and this is where Penmila thought that gender has nothing to do with the skill as long as a person is able to "create" what customer needs. She thus took up the tools and set to take up her loving job. She is currently working at a store in Imphal owned and run by one of her extended family members.

The woman that sawed her way through the glass ceiling - Owlivers Post

Challenges to the Woman Carpenter: 

As the field chosen by Penmila is majorly opted by the male members of the society, she is always doubted for her ability. She admits that carpentry requires a lot of physical strength but she says that she can handle it saying, "There is no doubt that carpentry work involves lots of physical strength but I have no qualms about physical exertions. I am used to it.” She says that every profession requires struggle and demands hard work, so does carpentry. "Every professional has their own share of struggle but what is required is hard work and perseverance. Nothing comes easy in life but if one is sincere and committed nothing can stop us.” People would ask her why she has chosen the work of a male and she would answer them saying, "There can be no restrictions just because I am a woman. Both men and women can take up any field of work as long as they have the interest and passion to excel in their chosen field. As carpentry is related to my course, I took it up with the support of my parents." 

What does the future hold: 

Penmila who believes that no job is less and no gender is less, says that she wants to get more training professionally to upskill herself technically and artistically. She wants to learn and explore various facets of the craft. She is also looking forward to starting her own carpentry business in future. 

Words of Value: 

Penmila, who set a trend in her locality, says that youth have a lot of potential to pursue their passions. One need not look for the support of the government always. Able usage of human skills and natural resources shall make dreams come true. 

This is surely an inspiration to all those who want to take up something different but are hesitant of the people around them.

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