CAT 2019 will set more females on IIM path, suggests Collegedunia, leading education portal

Top six IIMs have enrolled 33.5% female students in their 2019-21 session, 7.5% higher than the previous year benchmark.

Published: 13th September 2019 01:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th September 2019 01:19 PM   |  A+A-

By Online MI

IIMs are eyeing on increased number of women students in their flagship two years MBA program. Top six IIMs have enrolled 33.5% female students in their 2019-21 session, 7.5% higher than the previous year benchmark.

The visitor data of leading education portal collegedunia, discloses that female visitors looking for MBA programs has gone up by 2.85% in August 2018 to August 2019.  

Sumanta Basu, chairperson of admission at IIM Calcutta commented, “Once we achieve the 30% woman ratio consistently for a few years, we would be revising the target upwards.”


  • Common Admission Test or popularly recognized as CAT is the gateway for top business schools in India for management aspirants.
  • However, gender disparity has been a disappointing observation in these top management colleges. 
  • A dip in women's representation in IIMs was observed for the 2018-20 batch.
  • IIM batch 2019-21 made progress and women contributed 33.5% to the overall batches of top six IIMs.
  • Collegedunia records indicate a rise in female CAT aspirants for CAT 2019
  • CAT 2018 displayed an increase of 8.1% in female registrants from the previous year.

Female visitors at Collegedunia for CAT 2018 session contributed 49.3% of the total. Whereas, in 2019, the female visitors didn’t just increase but also surpassed the male visitor numbers. Out of the total visitors for CAT 2019, women contributed 52.9%, which is 5.8% more than the share of the male visitors.

As per the statements of IIM officials, they don’t have any intentions to be biased towards male candidates with engineering backgrounds. They admit that there is a need for diversity in the top business schools of the country. This diversity in the management batches will ultimately show up in the corporate sector.

Women Representation in IIMs for the batches of 2018-20 Vs 2019-21 is tabulated below:




IIM Calcutta



IIM Kozhikode



IIM Ahmedabad



IIM Bangalore



IIM Indore



(Data Source: Business newspaper)

Except for IIM Ahmedabad, all the mentioned IIMs have shown a rise in inducting women candidates from the previous year, the highest being in IIM Indore, which has inducted 42% women candidates in its latest batch. IIM Bangalore displayed the maximum upturn of 9% in enrolling female candidates, from being 28% in 2018-20 to 37% in 2019-21.

A major reason for the biased gender ratio is the dominance of engineers in CAT and IIM batches. And as popularly known, engineering colleges are worse in terms of gender ratio. To increase the female participation the government asked the IITs to maintain a 14% women occupancy in their seats, Most of the IITs have been able to meet this criteria, this in turn shall help in reducing the gender gaps in IIMs. 

The following data elucidates the share of Engineers and Males in the list of CAT 100 percentilers over the past 3 years:





Number of 100 Percentilers








Non Engineers












  • All 20 perfect scorers of CAT 2016 were males from engineering background.
  • Year 2017 saw some diversity in terms of toppers. However, engineers still heavily dominated the list being 17 out of 20 in number.
  • In the year 2018, all 11 CAT 100 percentilers were males from engineering background.

Such a trend is clearly suggestive that a diversity in the educational background of the candidates shall definitely bring about a change in the gender scenario in the top B- schools of country..

CAT Exam Pattern one of the ways through which IIMs are trying to resolve the issue. Although no significant changes have been made in the exam pattern since 2015 but question framing is aimed at a manner that the paper is levelled for the fields of humanities and commerce.

Along with CAT, IIMs have also made efforts to improve diversity through their selection process. IIM Calcutta allocates only 15 points to CAT out of a total of 50 points. The PI and the Written Ability Test are alloted 24 and 5 points, respectively. IIM Bangalore gives the most weightage to PI i.e. 30 for PI and 25 for CAT.

For IIM Ahmedabad a science candidate has to score at least 55% in class XII exams to get 1 point in the preliminary screening process while a commerce student needs only 50% and arts 45%. IIM Ahmedabad is strategizing to solve the gender gap issue by introducing changes in its admission criteria.

As per Himanshu Rai, the director of IIM Indore, they have a criterion called Gender Diversity Factor, as per which they give extra marks to female candidates.

Such changes in the selection process are helpful for non engineering background CAT aspirants as their shot in IIMs doesn’t rely majorly on their CAT score.

The newer IIMs have shown a great execution in terms of reducing gender gaps. IIM Sambalpur has 50 female candidates in a total batch of 98 students for the academic year 2019-2021. IIM Rohtak inducted 246 candidates out of which 124 were women.

 IIM Kashipur displayed an improvement by admitting 29 female candidates, a major improvement from last year’s 6 female students.

IIM Udaipur inducted 88 female candidates, which is 22 more than last year. IIM Nagpur also admitted 5 more female candidates than it’s last years number.

The percentage rise in the number of women registrants over the past 5 years is tabulated below:


Rise in Women Registrants (%)











Although 2018 saw a drop in terms of female representations in IIMs, however 2019 displayed positive outcomes in terms of growth in gender diversity. Constant efforts are being made to eliminate the extreme gender gaps.

As per Sumanta Basu, Associate Professor of IIM Calcutta, they’ve improved significantly in terms of gender diversity when compared with previous years during which the female ratio students used to hover around 10%.

The initiative by IIMs of adding diversity and reducing gender gaps seems very promising. We sincerely hope the steps taken will have positive results and IIMs will further move towards the next goal of their plan soon. 

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