Extra marks for admissions at IIMs for the fairer sex

Nirmalya Pal | July 19,2013 05:52 pm IST

If you are a women and aspiring for your MBA from the IIMs, you have a better chance by the virtue of your gender. Now, how fair is that?

Sample this.

Only 28% of students in IIM-Kozhikode's last year batch were women. This year, 54.29% are women. IIM Rohtak’s present batch comprises of 47.6% women compared to 9.6% of last year; IIM Raipur – 35.2% compared to 24.1% and IIM Kashipur – 20.8% compared to 2.5% of the previous batch. The other top three IIMs, namely Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta, have 20.8%, 26.8% and 23.2% women in their 2015 batch respectively, as reported by ET(June 17). The average composition of female students in all these IIMs for the past few decades were largely skewed with the figures hovering somewhere between 8% to 10%.

Until last year, the bigger and older IIMs stayed away from bending their admission policies while among the new IIMs, with the exception of IIM Shillongand IIM Ranchi, most of the new IIMs awarded extra points to women in the “interest of gender diversity” introducing new formula to make entry of women easier. IIM Rohtak assigned 20 marks to the female student (and 20 to a student from non-engineering background), IIM-Raipur added 30 marks to the overall scores of each female-non-engineer student and IIM-Lucknow decided to grant 5 marks to each female student (2 to non-engineers).

But, the older and bigger IIMs beat their younger brothers in the game and came out as winners this year with IIM Calcutta initiating a 3 points award to the women applicants and other older IIMs following the trend not exactly by rewarding points but “devising some formulae, not compromising on quality” which enhanced the ratio.

While some may say it is a welcome trend and IIMs are doing their bit in correcting the skewed gender ratio as “companies are increasingly looking for more women professionals”, many see the trend favoring the fairer sex as unnecessary and irrational. The changes in pattern in CAT paper – 50% weightage to language skills and a written test during admission process both believedto get more female students into the process and the number of women appearing for CAT has been climbing gradually.

Dr. Jitendra K Das, formerly Dean (Noida Campus) at IIM Lucknow also having taught at IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Kozikhode, and currently Director, FORE School of Management, New Delhi comments, "Some IIMs seem to be claiming of some great achievement by admitting 50% women students (or higher) in 2013 admission by giving them special bonus marks. With this method one can easily have 80% or even 100% women students! An institute cannot claim brilliancy by giving gender based extra brownie points to score high in an exam. These IIMs by giving special weightage to girl candidates are denying opportunity to boys. Girls these days are outperforming boys in XII grade or in graduation programs. Thus, giving extra marks to girls is unjustified and it deprives some deserving boys in getting admitted to an IIM”.

Dr. Das adds,“Take for example the banking segment which was once a male dominated domain is being ruled by women leaders today and 6 to 7 out of top ten banks are being headed by women. All these women treaded the same path as their male counterparts and it’s all merit based achievements.FORE School of Management, New Delhi without any gender based incentives, has been maintaining an average of 31% women students for the last 3 years, which also reflects the natural proportion of girls seeking a career in management.”

Dr. Ch. S. Durga Prasad, Dean - Faculty of Management Studies, Mody Institute of Technology and Science (FMS-MITS), which is regarded as one of the best educational institutions for girls not only in India but around the world,who also co-authored, ‘Management Student’s Attitude towards Corporate Ethics & Business Education’s Role in Addressing Social Issues’, feels, “Promoting higher education for the fairer sex and attracting women towards studies is something which MITS has been doing since ages. Women face different set of challenges at work and life,so what is important apartfromimparting first class education in business management is to prepare and groom women to face the business world with confidence, build leadership skills and develops holistic potentialsthus enabling them to face those challenges successfully. Empowerment of women doesn’t need to happen at the cost of depriving the male students”.

Interestingly, if the CBSE- 12th standard and the UPSC exam results are ruled by the girls do they really need reservations at the IIMs? If yes, why?

What the education system probably needs today is not some reservations but introspection. 


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