According to studies female intake has decreased by four per cent in the last five years.

Hyderabad:The gender gap in terms of opting for higher education is evidently seen in prestigious management institutions. Though women taking up higher education have seen an increase in the last decade, however, the numbers are still far from being equal with those of men. In the majority of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), mainly in the Post Graduate Program (PGP) spread across India, a specific weightage for gender diversity has been set, but women intake has decreased by four per cent in the last five years, according to studies.

City-based data analyst, Mr Rakesh Dubbudu, filed an RTI with the ministry of human resource development, department of higher education, government of India. The reply revealed that from 31.7 per cent women in the 2013-15 batch, enrolment dropped to 27.5 per cent in the 2017-19 batch, revealing a four per cent drop in women intake. The statistics also showed that few of the 20 IIMs have been performing better than the others in improving diversity. These figures are in relation to the Post Graduate Program (PGP) offered by the IIMs. However, there was a slight increase in women’s enrolment at the IIM based in Vishakhapatnam, established in 2015-16. The institute saw ‘0’ women applicants in the 2015-16 batch, one in the 2016-18 batch, and 16 in the current batch.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Mr D. Naresh, IIM Bengaluru 2006-08 alumni, said, “As per the gross enrolment ration in India (GER talks about a number of people enrolling for education between a particular age group), the number of female students to enroll is equal to the number of male students right from primary to high school, but as we move to higher education, it is very clear that women students are much lesser. Every year, the total number of applicants appearing for the CAT exam, 70 per cent are men and 30 per cent are women, so the number of women aspirants is less. Lastly, older IIMs have had better gender diversity because they are able to provide successful placements, and this is a very important factor to women. The return investment on fees a student pays is more important in the context of women students than men and this can be a major influencing factor.”

A CAT professor, Mr Raman Reddy, said, “Another factor for the lack of women aspirants is the location of these establishments and the fact that there are many sections of society that do not think it necessary to pay Rs 15-20 lakh for women’s education as they are not seen as the breadwinner of the family.” There are 20 IIMs established across the country, with Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, and Indore being the oldest few. IIMs in Bodhgaya, Nagpur, Sirmaur, Vishakhapatnam Sambalpur where established in 2015-16 and in Jammu in 2016-17.

“I questioned the department of higher education, government of India, whether it is a fact that the admission of girls in IIMs is coming down as it has witnessed a three-year low this year. To this the government said, “The admission of girls in IIMs during the last three years has shown an increasing trend, with the total women admitted going up from 881 in 2015-17 to 1,211 in 2017-19.” Also, when asked if the government would consider creating supernumerary seats as is being done in the case of IITs, the government said that no such proposal is under consideration,” said Mr Rakesh Dubbudu, who is also the founder of a web portal for data called Factly.

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