Assam’s Manju Baruah has broken a 200-year-old tradition in the way the state’s tea estates are run after becoming the first female to have been entrusted with managing a tea estate. Starting her journey as a welfare officer, Baruah has successfully climbed the professional ladder. She is now at the helm of affairs at Apeejay Tea’s Hilika Tea Estate in upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district.
“A woman manager is certainly a disruption of the traditional management structure in a tea garden, but it’s a disruption of a good kind,” Baruah was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Since tea industry is labour intensive, it mostly pertains to outdoor work and requires physical strength. The work is usually done by more women than men on tea estates, and yet somehow the industry has never had a female in-charge before.
So far, women had worked as senior assistant managers and welfare officers but no woman was appointed manager until Baruah was promoted in August, an official of Tea Board of India told Times of India.
Social media also congratulated Baruah or her incredible achievement.
Many congratulations to Me Baruah. I have never known a female tea estate manager. In fact it never even occurred to me that there was a glass ceiling here.
— meetu jain (@meetujain) December 8, 2018
Congratulations to Smt Manju Baruah from #Nazira #Sivasagar on being posted as the_manger of a tea garden of #Assam, a new in last 200 yrs of tea industry in Assam.
She is currently serving as garden manager for Apeejay Tea’s Hilika Tea Estate at Doomdooma in #Tinsukia district. pic.twitter.com/Omg3rUXT9h
— Nang Lucky Gogoi (@nanglucky) December 8, 2018