Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) on Wednesday announced its partnership with the Pernod Ricard India Foundation, and the Collective Good Foundation (CGF) to launch “India’s first academic-corporate fellowship programme” for the transgender community. This program will systemically enable transpersons from underserved communities across India to craft their career paths in the corporate world.
Transpersons between the age group of 18-25 years can apply for the program as there is no higher education bar for the applicants. Applications for this one-year fellowship are now open and will close on April 30, 2022.
These applicants will be shortlisted through an online process followed by a round of group discussions and personal interviews. The first batch of 20 fellows aims to start on July 1. After selection, each fellow will be offered a total stipend of Rs 2,40,000 along with Rs 96,000 for travel and stay during the year.
The one-year fellowship program is divided into two distinct phases. The first phase seeks to build theoretical acumen in business subjects and workplace skills through six months of immersive classroom training and project work led by the faculty and mentors at TISS. It will be followed by six-months of workplace immersion through internships at leading corporates and non-profits to provide multi-faceted exposure and experiential learning.
Upon successful graduation, the fellows will be awarded with completion certificates from TISS. Further, the fellows will also be assisted in charting out their future goals, and the program will attempt to facilitate corporate placements for interested fellows in partnership with Pride Circle.
“With inequitable access to education and skills, the transpersons are often forced to take up menial roles in society and continue to face significant socio-economic and cultural barriers in their journey towards financial independence and to be in the corporate workforce. In addition, with barriers like the high bar on minimum education and experience, along with the lack of gender-neutral policies, systems & infrastructures, and low social acceptance, only a few transpersons ever make it to the executive and managerial positions in their corporate careers. This fellowship program will provide adequate training and exposure to transform them to take on managerial and higher-up positions in the corporate ladder,” claims press release by the institute.
Also, Zainab Patel, lead-inclusion and diversity at Pernod Ricard India, says, “The world is an especially difficult place for transpersons who face constant biases and are never judged on the basis of their talent. It is very important to create an inclusive culture where people from all social strata and gender identities feel like they belong, and the first step is equitable education. This will create the cornerstone for transpersons to find gainful employment – a thought that is firmly embedded in PRI’s ethos and its commitment towards people, planet, and communities. We strongly believe in investing in and nurturing gender agnostic talent pools to truly harness the power of human capabilities and connection and this program is a step towards building an ecosystem of equal work opportunities for transpersons.”
Talking about the program, Prof Satyajit Majumdar, dean and professor, School of Management and Labour Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, said, “The Institute has always been guided by the vision of building an equitable society through cutting-edge research, contemporary course curriculum and action on the ground. With a strong history of enabling the marginalized, we are happy to partner with Pernod Ricard India Foundation for the cause of transgender inclusion in the workforce and are committed to enabling them to reimagine their futures through people-centered innovation.”