In India, there has been a 64 per cent increase in the enrolment of girls in science and engineering courses over the last five years. However, this increase is dwarfed by a large number of girls in the higher education who still prefer humanities and commerce fields with 8.5 million students, which is 1.6 times more in 2014-15, according to the data released by the ministry of human resource development.
Globally, only 28 per cent of researchers are women and in India, this percentage is quite low, with only 14 per cent of women researchers, according to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report. Sri Lanka has 37 per cent women researchers, while Pakistan has 20 per cent.
The table above looks at the enrolment of men and women in higher education courses from 2011 to 2015. The table shows that there are more number of girls enrolling for science and engineering courses.
The highest increase was seen in the Master of Technology course which has seen an enrolment increase of more than double (127 per cent) with 34,217 in 2011-12 to 77,537 in 2014-15 girl students. Furthermore, Bachelor of Science (honours) where enrolment increased has doubled from 97,924 to 196,968, in the same time period.
Meanwhile, the Humanities and Commerce fields, which are considered as female forte, have also seen an increase of 95 per cent in Bachelors of Arts (honours), followed by Masters of Commerce with 88 per cent in the last five years from 2011-2015.
The total number of girls enrolled in science courses is 3.3 million, while for humanities and commerce, this number of 8.5 million girls for the year 2014-15. When we compare the number of girls enrolled in B.Sc (honours) which has double the enrolment in the last five years, in 2014-15, the number of girl students enrolled is 196,968 while for the BA (honours), the number of girls enrolled in the same year.
The report by UNESCO explains this rise in the number of enrolment of girls in science and engineering fields. It says, there’s a change in the ‘masculine’ perception of engineering in the country and as the field expands, the girls will be assured of employment as well as an advantageous marriage.