Gender Diversity and Status of Female Academic Leadership

It is widely accepted by the global community that participation of females is critical to achieve a sustained economic and social development. More and more corporates are making a conscious effort to increase gender diversity in their organizations. Countries with lowest GII (Gender Inequality Index) are also the countries with better Human Development Index. India’s GII is 0.563 which is worse than a world average of 0.450.

We at Edushine Advisory Group conducted a research on “Gender Diversity and Status of Female Academic Leadership in Indian Higher Education” and threw light on this sensitive issue in an insightful research report. This is the first research report on gender diversity in higher education in India.

The report assessed the percentage of females in positions of influence such as Vice-Chancellor or Director in 810 Institutions of higher education in India. The institutions covered in the research includes all the universities categorized into (Central University, State University, State Private University, Deemed University), Institute of National Importance and IIMs.

“Recently, government regulations has increased female participation in corporate board rooms, however, it is important for us to create female academic leaders who can inspire young girls during their study days to take up leadership roles. Ironically, education institutions haven’t taken proactive steps and now it’s the time for the government to do course correction by come up with regulations. I hope, honourable HRD minister will come across findings of this research report and act”, said Kalpesh Banker, Managing Partner of EduShine.

The findings of the research suggest an alarming situation. Female participation in top positions in Indian Universities is negligible. The most prestigious institutions in India have no female academic heads. Some of the highlights of the findings of this research report are noted below:

  1. Only 6.67% Indian Institutions (54 out of 810) are headed by females. Though the gender gap in academic leadership is a global phenomenon, India lags much behind the developed countries like United States, Australia and United Kingdom which have 18%, 21% and 17% female participation at leadership level.
  2. Female leadership remains in single digit percentage in all the categories of Institutions of higher education (Central University, State University, State Private University, Deemed University, Institute of National Importance and IIMs.)3
  3. Central Universities have highest female participation as 9.8% institution (5 out of 51) are headed by females.
  4. State Universities have only 8.61% female academics heading them (28 out of 325).
  5. Deemed Universities have 7.14% share in terms of female leadership (9 out of 126).
  6. Institutes of National Importance that includes IITs, NITs, IISERs, AIIMS etc. have only 5.47% (4 out of 73) representation at director level.
  7. Among university system, State Private Universities have least representation of female academic leadership 3.6% i.e. (8 out of 222).
  8. Not a single IIT or IIM (total 29 having director) is headed by female. Female enrollment has also increased in conventionally male dominated fields such as science and medicine. Today, there are more females enrolled in M.Sc. courses than males. Despite this progress, female enrollment (in percent) lags in two key areas – Engineering and Management Studies. This is also reflected in complete absence of women at leadership positions across premier Engineering and Management institutions (IITs & IIMs) in India.
  9. India has registered significant progress in female enrollment in education. In 1950-51, India’s female enrollment ratio was 14 females per 100 males. By 2013-2014, it has improved to 80 females per 100 males.
  10. Across the 7 AIIMS, 16 IITs, 31 NITs and 6 IISERs, there is only one female director appointed as NIT, Puducherry.

After knowing there negligible representation of females in academic leadership roles, you must be disappointed like us. So, to address this sensitive issue, we have initiated Phase 2 of this rigorous scientific research which will help us in identifying reasons behind it and recommendations to improve female participation in leadership roles in Indian higher education. We are looking at representing the research report to Ministry of HRD to help them in formulating future policies.

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