Gender gap in India’s Education Sector is Narrowing Down
Gender gap, a salient issue during the women’s movement in the 1970s, is now a thing of the past in the country’s education sector. In India, the figure has been reduced by nine lakh in the last five years. Prof. Sudhir Angur, the Chancellor of Alliance University, Bangalore, and other domain experts, are underlining valuable opportunities to reduce gender inequalities in the field of education. During the academic year 2016-17, within the Master's of Arts program, there were 160 women for every 100 men; Bachelor's of Science (nursing) had 384 women for every 100 men.
Even in the postgraduate classes of science and commerce, women have sizably outnumbered men with 167 and 158 respectively per 100 males. However, in undergraduate and technical and professional courses like BTech, law or management, the enrolment is tilted in favour of males with a major gap.
According to the All India Survey on Higher Education, released by the HRD ministry, the gender gap in higher educational institutions has decreased by nine lakh from 2011-17 (31.5 lakh to 21.5 lakh). The survey indicates that the Gender Parity Index (GPI) has increased to 0.94 in 2016-17 from 0.86 in 2010-11, with a significant women participation in certain disciplines, including MA, MSc, and MCom.
By the end of the academic year of 2016-17, the enrollment count was marked at 3,57,05,905 with a Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of 24.5 per cent. This ratio was calculated dividing the number of students enrolled in a given level of education, regardless of age by the population, which officially corresponds to the given level of education, and multiplying the result by 100.
Women have persistently outnumbered men in Bachelors of Arts and Education. During the session of 2016-17, there were 99 women per 100 male students in MBBS, greater from 86 in 2012-13.
At MSc level, mathematics, physics and zoology are the subjects where female enrollment is recorded at 60 per cent, while in chemistry it is 56.3 per cent. Whereas for postgraduate, the highest number of enrollment has been recorded for mathematics, with a total of 1,43,762 students of which 62.1 per cent are females. In social sciences, especially in courses like political science, 52.2 per cent students are women.
Even though the GER statistics of females are high, there is still a significant gap in B Tech, MTech, law and MBA programmers, which needs to be bridged. In BTech, there are only 39 women per 100 men, and the figure has barely shown any improvement over the years. Except for MPhil and PG levels, the ratio also differs in diploma courses, with male enrollment being 70 per cent. Chancellor Sudhir Angur is upbeat about the initiatives being launched by the government, through which India is expected to attain a GER of 30 per cent by 2020.