Balancing the Gender Divide in Higher Education

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Balancing the Gender Divide in Higher Education

Over the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of girls seeking higher education, but at a certain point the peak plateaus off.

Those involved in higher education attribute the increase to rising awareness and the NEED to be independent. While a large number of girls enter college at the undergraduate level, not all of them move to postgraduation. And even from those who choose PG, very few take up research, they say.

Engineering Courses

K.S. Babai, principal of Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College, has found that though many girls take up engineering courses, quite a few parents hesitate when girls have to choose the electrical and civil branches.

In her college, in the second year of civil engineering class, girls outnumber boys. ‘It is the parents’ mindset. They are not sure if their daughters can do field work though a number of people have gone on to do field work,” she says. Last year a girl from the Civil Engineering Department was placed in a firm in Dubai. “I was worried if she would join. But she readily agree to go,” Prof. Babai recalls.

In the field of medicine too, men choose specialities such as gastroenterology, neurology and orthopaedics while women opt for gynaecology, biochemistry, genetics and paediatrics. More men than women go for higher education in surgery, say selection committee members of medical education.