20% In Number: A Look At The Rise Of Female Students In IITs

female students rise in IIT
Gone are those times when engineering colleges had hardly any female students. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in India has seen a significant rise in the number of female students and here is the reason why.

For decades, engineering has been an out-of-reach for women in India as people thought that engineering was a field for men. We have seen women like PK Theresia and A Lalitha becoming the first female engineers in India and many more women being the only ones in their disciplines or colleges. However, the introduction of female supernumerary seats in engineering colleges in India increased the number of females in IITs which went up from 9% in 2017 to 20% in 2021 and 2022.

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Number Of Female Students Rise In IITs

The female supernumerary seats were introduced in IITs in a bid to eradicate the huge difference in the number of male and female students in the top engineering institute of India. An additional number of seats was added for females in IITs instead of reserving from the existing number of seats. The effect of the decision and the increased opportunity reflects in the data from JEE exam and IIT admission trends before and after the scheme says the reports.

In 2017, 7259 female students qualified for JEE Advanced but only 995 were admitted to IITs making 9% of the total strength, according to reports. Females qualified for IITs till 2017 as well but did not take up the admission opportunity as compared to male students. The things that stopped females not confirming their admission to IITs were, at times, because of the location of IIT and the field of study.

Reportedly, this number significantly rose to 14% in 2018 after the introduction of the supernumerary quota and went on to increase thereafter. In 2021, female students constituted 20% of the total strength of IITs and the same percentage was seen in 2022 as well, where females got admission to 3310 seats out of 16635 seats in IITs.

Though 20% is still less, it is significant considering that people still encourage girls to become doctors as compared to engineers even today. The mathematics and physics principles and the nature of IT sector jobs are largely the reason why society considers engineering is not fit for women. However, the misconception is fading, though slowly but surely and awareness is increasing. If society improves and promotes a better mindset, we will surely witness even more female engineers coming up.