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Breaking Barriers and Building Inclusivity – Women still minority

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Social Justice


Source: TH


Context: Preeti Aghalyam, the first woman to become the Director of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), highlighted the underrepresentation of women on IIT campuses.

  • Her appointment coincides with a broader effort by various IITs to address the gender imbalance on their campuses.


The enrolment ratio of men to women in engineering colleges in India has improved over the years. However, the proportion of women in IITs remains low, with some institutes having as little as 5% to 12% female representation in 2014.


Implications of Underrepresentation of Women in Higher Education in India:

Limited Access to OpportunitiesWomen miss out on educational and career opportunities, limiting their potential for growth and advancement.
Gender-Based Stereotyping and BiasStereotypes reinforce gender roles, limiting women’s choices in pursuing certain fields of study or careers.
Unequal Workforce RepresentationFewer women in higher education result in a limited pool of qualified female professionals in various sectors, leading to gender imbalance in the workforce.
Economic DisparitiesWomen’s lower participation in higher education can contribute to the gender pay gap and economic disparities between men and women.
Lack of Diverse PerspectivesThe absence of women’s voices and perspectives in academia limits the development of inclusive knowledge and hinders innovation.
Reinforcement of Social NormsThe underrepresentation of women in higher education perpetuates traditional societal norms and expectations, hindering progress towards gender equality.
Missed Contributions to Research and InnovationSociety misses out on the unique talents, perspectives, and contributions that women can bring to research and innovation in various fields.



Government Schemes for Women:

Digital Gender AtlasMinistry of Human Resource Development has prepared a digital gender atlas for advancing girls’ education in India.
National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE)The objective of the scheme is to establish an enabling environment to reduce dropouts and to promote the enrolment of girl children in secondary schools.
Nai ManzilAn integrated education and skilling scheme in partnership with the World Bank, aimed at minority youth without a formal school leaving certificate, providing formal education and skills for better employment and livelihoods. 30% target allocation for women beneficiaries.
Naya SaveraA scheme providing financial support to students from minority communities to prepare for competitive examinations. 30% allocation for women beneficiaries.



Efforts for gender parity continue as women remain a minority at IITs. While progress has been made, there is still a long way to go in improving the gender ratio at these institutions.


Insta Links:

Problems Faced by minority women in India


Mains Link:

What are the continued challenges for women in India against time and space? (Mains 2019)