A closer look at the components used to award ranks to educational institutions by the Ministry of Education’s National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) shows India’s best educational institutions rank quite poorly in women diversity.

The institutions are given a score out of 30, depending on the proportion of female students and faculty members. An ideal situation is where half the student population and 20 per cent of the faculty members are women. However, the scores do not look quite promising in India’s top 10 engineering institutes. On the other hand, most of the top 10 management, medicine, law and pharma institutes have scored above 20.

Men’s playfield

IIT Madras has been consistent in bagging the first rank in the engineering, research and overall categories in the country. However, the institute has a women diversity score of 13.34. The NIRF data doesn’t mention if the institute lacks in the representation of women students or faculty. In 2018, the institute had scored 13.37 in this domain. Five years down the line, it hasn’t made much improvement.

Of the top 10 engineering institutes, the score is the worst for IIT Kanpur — 9.96. Only NIT Tiruchirappalli has a score above 20 in the list. All engineering institutes among the NIRF top 10, barring IIT-M have improved their women diversity score from five years ago.

More opportunities

This also seems to be a global trend. In a joint statement, Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science said, “Studies have shown that women account for just 22 per cent of professionals working in artificial intelligence and 28 per cent of engineering graduates.”

“The first step to change this is to provide more opportunities in science and innovation to women,” they added.

All top 10 medical colleges have women diversity scores above 20. AIIMS Delhi, the best in the country, has a score of 27.55. But five years ago, its score was 27.94. NIMHANS Bangalore and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, which rank fourth and eighth respectively, have 30 on 30 scores, indicating a healthy representation of women.

Similar is the case with India’s top-ranked management institutes. IIM Ahmedabad, the best management institute in the country, has a score of 21.25. The scores are above 20 for all others in the top 10 list, too. Interestingly, IIT Madras is the tenth-best management institute in the country and in terms of management courses, the institute has a women diversity score of 26.29.

Almost all the top-ranked law and pharmacy institutes have a healthy representation of women. Among the law institutes, NALSAR Insitute of Law and Siksha `O` Anusandhan and in pharmacy, Panjab University, BITS Pilani, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences and JSS College of Pharmacy, have scored 30 on 30 in women diversity.

Of the top 10 institutes in all these five categories, most of them have improved their scores, compared to 2018. The ones that have had the most improvement are IIM Kozhikode (13.55 points), National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hyderabad (6.82 points), and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali (5.33 points).

At the same time, scores of 12 institutes have dropped in a five-year span. These include the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Ahmedabad, and the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, whose scores have dropped by 4.29 and 4.19 points, respectively.