So, before we explore why, let us look at the performance of girls in JEE Advanced 2018. The below list shows the performance of girls in the exam:
- 14 girls in top 500
- 46 girls in top 1000
- 410 girls in top 5000
- 935 girls in top 10000
- 1202 girls in top 12000
Yes, you saw that right! The gender divide is abysmal in the field of technical education. Though the numbers are not surprising at all.
What has been done?
With a motive to bridge this gender division and to encourage diversity, the Human Resource and Development (HRD) Ministry has added 800 additional seats reserved for girls. The plan to increase the number of reserved seats for girls by 8% is not only to attract female candidates but also to encourage them to take up popular streams like Computer Science and Electrical engineering.
The chairman of Joint Admission Board (JAB) stated that the decision to increase the number of seats is to ensure that there are at least 14% female students in each programme and 17% in the overall of total students.
Has the situation improved?
No, it hasn’t. In fact, the numbers are further dwindling. Last year’s JEE Advanced saw 68 girls in top 1000 and this time just 46 girls were able to make the cut.
Does increasing the number of seats solve the problem of inequality? No, it won’t as the number of girls taking the exam is far less when compared to boys. This year around 2.7 lakh girls participated in the JEE exam, while the number of boys in the same exam was 6.5 lakh. Whereas if we move away from the technical field, the number is very different. The number of girls attempting the NEET exam was around 7.4 lakh compared to 5.5 lakh boys. So, why does this parity when it comes to technical education?
So, whom to blame?
There is a notion in our society that engineering is a field for the male students. It is there for all of us to see that the number of male students taking admissions in Mechanical and Civil engineering branches is way more than female students. The undermining rules and biases that persist in our society are the root cause of the current predicament. Because of these stigmas, we can see that girls in our country do good in subjects of humanities and literature when compared to other technical subjects
The societies of developed countries show that given equal opportunities girls usually outshine boys in the field of technical education.
Solution and Conclusion
Until and unless our society can overcome these stereotypes, perceptions and cultural barriers, there is no solution to this problem. Just increasing the number of seats for girls is not going to lead us anywhere.
It is high time that we look beyond these stigmas, as a great nation can’t be built on the shoulders of the men alone.