In India’s Small Towns, More Women Opting For Post-Graduation Than Men

Women who pursue higher education are more likely to complete post-graduation than men, the data showed. (Representational Image)

The performance of India’s female athletes at the Rio Olympic Games got the entire country talking about gender equality.

The strongest case was that of Sakshi Malik, India’s first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal. The discourse moved to her hometown- Rohtak, in Haryana – one of the state’s 17 districts classified as gender-critical. Rohtak has 867 females for every 1,000 males. This is an improvement over 847 in 2001. The sex ratio should ideally be between 940 and 980, according to various estimations.

The child sex ratio–the proportion of female children per 1,000 male children under the age of six has also improved to 820, from 798 in 2001. One reason could be the much-publicised rise of Haryana’s female wrestlers as role models, although both ratios continue to be critical.

Women who pursue higher education are more likely to complete post-graduation than men, the data showed. This trend is exemplified by Sakhi Malik, who holds a post-graduate degree in physical education.

We checked some stats on how many women pursue higher education in some smaller cities of India, including the gender-critical Rohtak.

Source: Census of India

The gender gap between graduate men and women in India is lesser: 6% women have graduate degrees, compared to 10% men. Of these, 38% men went on to pursue post-graduation compared to 40% women, according to data on education levels from Census 2011.

Of 1,000 Indian women, only 25 are post graduates; men are marginally more at 37.

This trend is confirmed in a sample of 15 cities that we chose for the study. On average, 41.5% graduate women went on to pursue post-graduate courses compared to 38% men.

Total Enrolment in Higher Education has been estimated at 33.3 million, with 17.9 million boys (54%) and 15.4 million girls (46%), according to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2014-15 data.

Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) – the proportion of people enrolled for education in a particular age group – in higher education in India is 23.6%. While GER was 24.5% for men, it was 22.7% for women, according to AISHE.

Source: Census of India

Only 2.4% of rural women are graduates, as compared to 5.4% men. Gender gap between graduates in urban India is lesser than in the villages. 15% women and 18% men in India’s cities are graduates.

In our sample of 15 smaller cities of India, on average, 10% women and 14% men were found to be graduates, confirming the trend in the gap among men and women in urban India.

Smaller cities of India have lesser proportion of women graduates than overall women graduates from cities, indicating that more women in bigger cities pursue higher studies.


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