Monday, May 30, 2011

Kakodkar Committee Report: Part 5. Gender Equity

In Chapter 3 which is devoted to "IITs as Research Institutions," we find a couple of sections on UG students. One of these sections is essentially an expression of concern that women form such a small minority among the UG students.

After identifying this as something about which "We Must Do Something," the Committee suggests two possible ways to "encourage women to seek entry into IITs":

  • When there is a tie in total marks in JEE, the rank is decided by marks in individual subjects. It is recommended that whenever there is a tie in total marks, women may be ranked higher than men. Individual subject marks may then be used to rank within men and women as before. This will help women get better choices of branch. Also, some more women at the bottom of the merit list may benefit from such a system.

  • Women, who get admitted and are required to pay a fee, may be reimbursed 50% of the fee amount by the Government.

The Committee's audacity to appear to be addressing this issue are just too overwhelming!


  1. Arun said...

    The report seems to be a joke. Good job pointing some of the problems in it. Hope a reform hungry HRD minister will not decide to implement it without any thought.

  2. pr said...

    I thought the first point was discriminatory but it appears that it might not be. The constitution of India says that discrimination based on gender is not okay but it's alright to make special provisions for women, children or backward classes.

  3. Abi said...

    @pr: In case I wasn't clear in the post: the problem with the proposed "solutions" is that they do nothing at all to increase the number of women in the IITs' UG program.

  4. WebMiner said...

    Rain check here.

  5. chitta said...

    Hi Abi:

    It is illuminating to look at the unique rank list of CLAT and how many students are there at a single score. There are 40 people with the score 126 (ranked from 498 to 538) and 73 people with the score 116 (ranked from 988-1061), 125 people with the score of 106 (ranked from 1930- 2055), 176 people with the score 99 (from 2943-3119) and 223 people with score 94 (3979- 4202).

    I think the IIT JEE scores and distribution would be similar to CLAT and by giving women a higher unique ranking when they have the same score will help women getting a preferred (according their choice) branch/location, which for some may be a deciding factor in whether to go to an IIT or another institution. I think this will increase the number of women in the IITs. Maybe not a huge increase but a noticeable increase.

  6. Abi said...

    @Chitta: The proposed "reform" in JEE ranking algorithm comes into play only after women get into the "JEE Qualified" queue. So, isn't this a case of "appearing to address the issue," rather than, you know, really addressing it?

  7. Ajit R. Jadhav said...


    I presume you would wish to en*force* gender equality also in those biology, psychology, interior design, fashion design, catering, knitting, air-hostess etc. courses. Also, I presume, you would wish to expand the reach of the en*forcing* principle in reference to gays and lesbians, too.


  8. chitta said...

    @Abi : It depends on what you mean by "addressing it". My interpretation of that is: Whether the proposal will increase women in the IITs. I think it will and hence it addresses it. The question is to what extent.

    Note that for all the 200+ choices (institution, branch) there is a cut-off or rank, say X. Consider the score of that rank, say Y. People below rank X, with the same score Y, will not get that choice. In other words for each of the 200+ choices, at the bottom end women will be preferred over men.

    I guess your point is that if there are not that many women in the pool to start with then it does not help much.

    As per your earlier article they constitute 11% of the rank-holders. I think that is significant enough to be benefited by the above scheme.

    I think this scheme is a soft option which no one will oppose and is a good starting point. A much bigger consensus is needed for radical changes such as scrapping or drastically modifying JEE (as was suggested in the beginning by the Damodar Acharya committee), etc.

    IMHO, it is better to take even a small incremental step right away while working for a bigger solution rather than do nothing waiting for a bigger solution.