The Hyderabad sector of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) reckons as a groundbreaker in attaining notable gender equality across all IIT campuses. This particular zone, encompassing Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry, has witnessed a notable upswing in the enrollment of young women, constituting an impressive 26% of the incoming batch.
The surge in female participation can be attributed to the implementation of a supernumerary female quota, a policy that has substantially elevated the number of girls pursuing education in IITs. Notably, the present batch exhibits a threefold surge in the number of female students compared to the statistics from 2017, indicating a substantial transformation in the gender makeup of IITs.
New Admissions Exhibit Diversity
IIT Delhi, aligning with the broader national goal of fostering gender equality, harbours ambitions to achieve a balanced 50:50 gender ratio on its campus. The initiatives undertaken by IIT Hyderabad symbolize a larger pattern, where the average proportion of female students across various IIT campuses is 19%. However, the southern zone has surpassed this average, signifying a commitment to inclusivity. The journey toward gender parity in IITs begins early in this region, as nearly 50% of aspiring students registering for IITs are young women.
The evolution towards a more gender-inclusive environment in IITs can be traced back to the introduction of the supernumerary female quota five years ago. Across various IIT campuses, the average representation of female students now hovers around 19.7%.
The recent batch of 2023, which includes 3,411 female students, demonstrates a substantial increase compared to the 995 reported in 2017, just before the introduction of extra seats specifically designated for women. Notably, a substantial one-third of this cohort belongs to the IIT Hyderabad zone.
In 2018, the initial quota for women stood at 14%, experiencing subsequent increases to 17% and eventually reaching 20% in the following years. IIT Delhi, aligning with the broader national goal of fostering gender equality, harbours ambitions to achieve a balanced 50:50 gender ratio on its campus.
The director of IIT Delhi, Rangan Banerjee, emphasizes the academic merit of women and highlights the positive impact of a diverse student body on the overall educational experience. As IITs transition toward a more multidisciplinary approach, introducing programs such as design and public policy, there is a growing recognition that a diverse mix contributes significantly to the richness of the academic environment. Banerjee envisions a transformation in the perception of science and engineering, with the ultimate goal of rendering gender a non-issue within the campus ecosystem.
By recognizing the interconnectedness of gender parity in education and increased female representation in IITs, a holistic approach can be adopted to address societal norms and systemic barriers, ensuring that the full potential of women is harnessed in the field of technology and beyond.
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