In a bid to address gender imbalance in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the institution has decided to add 779 more seats exclusively for women applicants. The same will be implemented from the new academic session this year.

The move comes after a Joint Admission Board sub-committee in 2017 made an important observation. It noticed that though a lot of women cleared JEE (Advanced), the enrollment rate of women candidates stayed low.

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Of the 779 seats, 113 seats are given to IIT Kharagpur, 95 seats to IIT-Dhanbad, 79 to IIT-Kanpur, 76 to IIT-BHU, 68 to IIT-Roorkee, 59 to IIT-Delhi, 58 to IIT-Bombay and 57 to IIT-Guwahati

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Why don’t many girls head to IIT?

According to a report, societal biases are a key factor preventing women from enrolling themselves in IIT. Currently, 9% women are admitted to IIT Kharagpur. This year, the percentage has increased to 14%.

The decision was taken after a Joint Admission Board sub-committee noticed that though a lot of women cleared JEE (Advanced), the enrollment rate of women candidates stayed low

Besides, dearth of female role models in their families, who pursue B.Tech in IIT, is also a challenge.

Responding to criticism that preferential treatment dilutes quality, the report stated, “Only female candidates who have qualified in JEE (Advanced) are considered. They are in the top two per cent of all students admitted to engineering in India. Evidence such as Board exam results indicates that they are as meritorious as their male counterparts.”

“The ranks of females in JEE (Advanced) are lower due largely to systematic societal biases that deprive them of support for JEE (Advanced) preparation equal to that given to boys,” the report said.

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