In order to improve the poor gender ratio, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have taken a stand to offer 779 seats in their B.Tech programmes, exclusively to women candidates in 2018. These seats will be offered above the normal female candidate intake by the colleges.
It is hoped that these seats will help provide females more opportunities within the realm of the technical sector and increase their numbers by double in the institutes.
Out of the total seats being provided, 113 will be offered in IIT Kharagpur, 95 in IIT Dhanbad, 79 in IIT Kanpur, 76 in IIT BHU, 68 in IIT Roorkee, 59 in IIT Delhi, 58 in IIT Bombay and 57 in IIT Guwahati.
In 2017, only 1,006 students were females out of the 10,987 students who were part of the 23 IITs B.Tech programmes. The composition of female candidates on the graduate level has remained about 8-10% through a span of five years. In post-graduate programmes that the IITs offer, the gender ratio is slightly better at 22%.
The IIT Council conducted a meeting on 28th April, 2017 and decided to introduce “supernumerary seats”. The Council aims to reach their proposed goals of increasing female enrollment and involvement to 14% in 2018, 17% in 2019 and go on to 20% in 2020.
The team behind this decision taken by the Council was a sub-committee of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) which had T A Gonsalves, IIT Mandi Director, as its Chairman.
The committee realized that while female candidates clearing the IIT JEE (Advanced) examination for the B.Tech programme achieved the gender ratio of 45%, their effective representation came to only less than 10%. They reported “societal biases” as the cause of low enrollment among females.
The committee report stated, “Evidence such as Board exam results indicates that they (female students) are as meritorious as their male counterparts.” “The ranks of females in JEE (Advanced) are lower largely due to systematic societal biases that deprive them of support for JEE (Advanced) preparation equal to that given to boys.”