How IIMs failed to gat enough girl students despite gender diversity claims

How IIMs failed to gat enough girl students despite gender diversity claims

The Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta declared the result for Common Admission Test or CAT 2018 on January 5, 2018. While the results paved the way for entry into the premier institutes for many aspirants, it also nullified the much touted claims of gender and academic diversity that the IIMs have been boasting for years.

To put things into perspective, here are two major giveaways from the current results statistics: one, all the 11 toppers who scored overall 100 percentile are male; two, all 11 are engineers. Also, as per reports, of the 11, as many as 9 are from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and two from Jadavpur University.

Number of women topples as number of IIMs increase

While the IIMs did set a goal of enrolling 30 per cent women into their flagship programmes, data reveals only otherwise. As per reports, the number of women in IIMs has decreased from 31.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent. Among the institutes, three of the popular IIMs, Kozhikode, Calcutta and Ahmedabad, had admitted only 26 per cent women in the 2018-2020 batch. This was at least four per cent less compared to the percentage of women students in the PGDM programmes in the previous year. In IIM Bangalore, the percentage has neither shifted up nor down. Of the 2,09,405 candidates who appeared for the exam in 2018, 1,36,075 were male and only about 73,326 were female. This also means, none among the 73,326 could make it to the 100 percentile club. SV Nathan, chief talent officer at Deloitte India has been quoted as saying to a national daily, “From classroom to boardroom, the ratio of women plummets. Institutes outside India have much better gender ratio.”

Perhaps one of the most discouraging facts about gender diversity at IIMs is revealed in a single set of data. According to the data journalism platform, Factly, between the 2013 and 2017, the number of women admitted to the business schools has been lowest in the 2015-17 batch, the same year the number of IIMs increased to 19 from 13 for the first time. The number of women students was above 1000 in 2013, but decreased in subsequent years. It slowly picked up since the 2015 admission year. The number seems to be have increased just over 200 to reach 1211 in the 2017-2019 batch. However, the total number of seats in IIMs has increased from 3394 in 2013-2015 to 4399 in 2017-19. This means that of the total students in the 2017-19, as many as 3188 or around 72 per cent were males and only 1211 or 27.5 per cent were females. This did not even meet the IIMs goal of enrolling 30 per cent women into the PGDM programme.


Name of Institute


Number of Women tudents
2013-15 2014-16 2015-17 2016-18 2017-19
IIM Ahmedabad 93 138 75 105 132
IIM Bangalore 106 95 110 115 113
IIM Calcutta 109 115 94 76 143
IIM Lucknow 189 136 98 123 140
IIM Indore 155 139 200 199 221
IIM Kozhikode 196 125 97 102 108
RGIIM Shillong 26 18 28 37 22
IIM Rohtak 73 49 14 09 25
IIM Raipur 42 20 45 65 52
IIM Ranchi 30 68 54 69 92
IIM Tiruchirappalli 17 11 05 33 24
IIM Udaipur 15 26 19 60 60
IIM Kashipur 26 18 16 10 12
IIM Amritsar 08 14 21
IIM Bodhgaya 02 03 00
IIM Nagpur 03 07 02
IIM Sirmaur 00 01 16
IIM Vishakhapatnam 04 12 13
IIM Sambalpur 09 09 09
IIM Jammu Established in 2016-17 12 16
Total 1077 958 881 1061 1211


In the above table, it can seen that that number of women candidates had, in fact, crossed 1000 in 2013, but started to steadily decrease, henceforth. The numbers again started to rise from 2015 to 2017. According to the table, IIM Indore is the only business school where the number of women has crossed 200 twice. Also, as per Faculty, the IIMs that were established earlier have fared better in the gender diversity index compared to the new IIMs. IIM Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Indore have managed to keep up with the 30 per cent goal. However, IIMs Bangalore and Calcutta have fared badly with Bangalore never crossing 25 per cent till 2017-19 and Calcutta reaching 30.9 only in 2017-19. Percentage of women in IIM Calcutta had gone down to 16.4 per cent in 2016-17.

Interestingly, some of the IIMs like Bangalore and Calcutta have set a Gender Diversity weightage during the selecting process. However, as seen in the above table the weightage seems not have impacted the intake capacity of women in any way as these institutes have only fared worse than business schools without such a weightage like Ahmedabad.

Gender disparity in engineering programmes affects CAT numbers

The IIMs have been ringing the diversity bell for sometime now. It is no news that majority of the students across the IIMs are male. This also stems from the fact that most of the test takers who clear the exam are students who have cleared their undergraduate degrees in engineering. But, engineering is another course which is known for significantly lopsided gender diversity. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), in an attempt to close the gap at the undergraduate level itself, published a directive asking all the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology to ensure that 14 per cent of their total seats go to women. Given that some of the IITs have managed to adhere to the directive, it is expected that the move could have a domino effect of increasing the number of women test takers of CAT in coming years.

About CAT
The CAT is conducted annually for admission to 20 IIMs and over 100 business schools across the country as well as abroad. Over 2 lakh students take the computer based exam year, which is also considered one of the toughest and the most competitive management entrance test in the country. CAT assess a candidate’s ability in four areas- Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). CAT 2018 was held on November 25, 2018 for 3 hours.

Candidates who clear CAT are called for further rounds of the selection process based on the cut off declared by the individual institutes. Commonly, most business schools conduct a Written Ability Test (WAT), Personal Interview (PI) and Group Discussion (GD) as part of the selection process. Along with that, candidates’ academic as well as professional records, if any, are also evaluated before seats are offered to them.

IIMs Total Seats (in 2018)
IIM Ahmedabad 395
IIM Bangalore 400
IIM Calcutta 460
IIM Lucknow 500
IIM Indore 450
IIM Kozhikode 375
IIM Shillong 180
IIM Rohtak 240
IIM Trichy 180
IIM Udaipur 260
IIM Ranchi 185
IIM Kashipur 180
IIM Raipur 240
IIM Amritsar 105
IIM Bodhgaya 60
IIM Nagpur 126
IIM Visakhapatnam 60
IIM  Jammu 60
IIM Sambalpur 60
IIM Sirmaur 60


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