Gender Survey Reveals the State of Female Participation in Higher Education

Gender Index Higher Education

The 2019-2020 GPI (Gender Parity Index) in Indian higher education was 1.01 to 1.00, a strong indicator that access to higher education for females has dramatically improved. Overall, there has been a generalized increase of more than 18% within female enrollment in higher institutions from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020. This data stems from a Ministry of Education report released on Thursday, 10 June 2021.

The report has provided key performance indicators regarding the current status of female education and higher education in general within the country. As quoted from the report, “In the last five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20, there has been a growth of 11.4 per cent in the student enrolment. The rise in female enrolment in higher education during the period is 18.2 per cent.” The survey consisted of 1,019 universities, 9,599 stand-alone educational institutions, and 39,955 colleges in total.

Gender Parity in Type of Educational Institution

However, the share of female students to male students is the lowest in institutions of national importance. According to the Ministry of Education report, the ratio of female students is lowest for state private open universities, closely followed by institutions under the state legislature act. In contrast, the highest female to male ratio is found in in-state public universities. “Share of female students is the lowest for the institutes of national importance (24.7%) followed by deemed universities government (33.4 percent) and state private universities (34.7%), whereas the share of female students for institutes under State Legislative Act is 61.2%,” the report reads.

GPI in Type of Course

Additionally, female participation in professional training is substantially lower than participation in academic courses, according to a 2019-2020 AISHE survey. The survey discovered this pattern for academic courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Data shows that female participation has increased sharply for MSc, MCom, and MA degrees in the last five years. However, the data shows that female students are still sparse in the BCA, BBA, BTech, BE, and LLB degrees. The report pointed out that the percentage of male to female students is higher in almost every degree. The singular exception is for MPhil (both postgraduate and certificate).

GPI in Level of Education

Overall, the study recorded gender in undergraduate enrollment as 50.8% male and 49.2% female. The diploma level becomes a much more skewed distribution, standing at 65.1% male and 34.9% female. PhD courses have shown to be 55% male and 45% female. Integrated Levels are 56.2% male and 43.8% female. Finally, PG Diploma student enrollment is 53.6% male and 46.4% female.

GPI among States

The relatively high share of male to female students can be seen in most of the states. Uttar Pradesh, containing the highest Indian student enrollment, has a ratio of 49.1% male and 50.9% female students. The second-highest student enrollment state is Maharashtra and holds 54.2% male and 45.8% female students. Thirdly, Tamil Nadu has 50.5% male and 49.5% female students.


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