NEW DELHI: Representation of women in India’s top scientific and educational institutions such as IITs, NITs and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research showed a wide gap in gender equality. The IITs showed the steepest divide with average number of women faculty being 11.24%, says a study.The study by the Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, observed the recruitment pattern in various science-related streams of various prominent institutions/universities over the years. The study was published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Current Science.
“It is clear that irrespective of the year of establishment, eminence and geographical distribution, all research and teaching institutions in India show a similar pattern in employing women faculty/researchers, merely 10–20 per cent of the total strength, with very few exceptions,” said authors Akanksha Swarup and Tuli Dey.
The first group of seven IITs established between 1951 and 2001 showed an average of 10.74% women faculty in the Science and Technology stream, followed by 11.6% in the second set (2008-09; eight IITs) and 11.33% in the third set (2012-16; eight IITs).“It can be assumed that the dearth of qualified women candidates remained the same (in IITs) from 1951 to 2018,” the study noted.
However, the profile of the faculty in the top 20 universities of the country differed significantly, as the average number of women faculty was 27.11%. “This can be probably explained by the fact that these universities handle teaching and research mostly related to basic sciences rather than technical subjects,” it said.Among the universities, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bengaluru was most male-dominated with 8.6% female faculty, while Amritha Vishwa Vidyapeetham (45.8%) and Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune (40.53%) stood out with most balanced distribution of gender within India.
The NITs (National Institute of Technology) showed an average of 17.75% women faculty and the CSIR had 4,600 active scientists, of which only 18.48% were women. The gender-wise distribution in IISERs (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) throughout the country was 15.47% and 84.52% male.Different research institutions (mainly focused on biological sciences), such as National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB) exhibited a similar profile with 23.12% women scientists compared to 77.49% male scientists.
While IISc-Bengaluru was most male-dominated with 8.6% female faculty, Amritha Vishwa Vidyapeetham (45.8%) and Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune (40.53%) had most balanced distribution of gender