Thursday, 12 February 2015

Women under represented in higher education in India: Report

Women under represented in higher education in India: Report

New Delhi, Feb 11, 2015, DHNS:
Women continue to be under-represented in India's higher education leadership despite nine-fold increase in the government expenditure on the sector between 2007 and 2012, according to a British Council report. DH file photo

Women continue to be under-represented in India’s higher education leadership despite nine-fold increase in the government expenditure on the sector between 2007 and 2012, according to a British Council report.

While women constitute 44 per cent of the 27.5 million students in country’s higher educational institutions, they constitute just 1.4 per cent of the professoriate and 3 per cent of vice-chancellors in the universities, it noted. 

In most Indian universities, the representation of women academics is less than 40 per cent, added the report, titled 'Women in Higher Education Leadership in South Asia: Rejection, Refusal, Reluctance, Revisioning’.

“While in all categories of academic positions women are under-represented, this increases for higher positions. Thus, only 25.5 per cent of professors, 31.1 per cent of readers and associate professors, and 38.5 per cent of lecturers or assistant professors are women,” it noted, analysing a 2013 report of the government.

The report, prepared by the British Council in collaboration with the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) of the University of Sussex, was released here at a two-day deliberation on the representation of women in higher education in South Asia. The event, organised by the British Council, concluded on Wednesday.

An analysis of the government data also indicated that women with disability represent only 1.9 per cent of the overall total number of academics in India. “Muslim women are also under-represented in Indian higher education, both in relation to male academics and overall. Of the Muslim academics, only 33.5 per cent are women, which is only 14.9 per cent of the total number of academics in India,” underlined the report.

The report found that women in higher education in South Asia, including India, were not prepared for leadership. There was also evidence that when they did aspire for leadership, they were frequently rejected for the most senior positions. Referring to interactions with women faculty, the report highlighted how the country’s universities’ selection procedures were “exclusionary and discriminated” against women. “First and foremost, most selection committees have only men. Very few have women. Most that I've gone through, have all men on the committee, for any position,” the report quoted a senior woman faculty.

The British Council suggested that educational institutions should adopt changes in work practices.

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