First Mover : IIM-K to Create 60 women-only PGP SeatsCATKing
The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode plans to become the first IIM to create 60 additional seats exclusively for women in its flagship post-graduate programme for management from the next academic year. The institute, which had set a record by admitting more than 54% women in its PGP programme in 2013, has seen representation of women dwindle to 26% since, and is now planning to make an extra push for gender diversity through these ‘supernumerary’ seats.
With this, IIM Kozhikode has also become the first IIM to follow in the footsteps of IITs, which have created around 800 supernumerary seats in 2018, as per the directives of the human resource development ministry, in a bid to improve the low gender ratio across its campuses.
While the ratio of women students in IIMs is much better than in IITs, the B-schools have still seen the percentage of women fluctuate, and in several cases take a turn for the worse.
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As reported by ET earlier, the percentage of women dipped at top IIMs including Ahmedabad, Kozhikode, Calcutta and Indore compared to that last year. The current batch size at IIM K is 426, of which 26% students are women; at IIM Bangalore the figure is 28%, at IIM Indore, it is 39%.
With professor Debashis Chatterjee– during whose previous tenure IIMK achieved the 54% record-–back as director since May, the institute once again intends to increase the representation of women in the IIM system.
A push from institutes coupled with initiatives being taken by corporates will reap increased benefits, said senior executives. “Diversity is very important in creating a pool of talent for the long term,” said Saugata Gupta, managing director of Marico. “This will have a mucneeded multiplier effect on increasing women’s representation in India Inc.”
Chatterjee said the institute wants to attract an eclectic mix of talent for these seats. “CAT (common admission test) scores will be factored in, but the admission lens will be broader than the conventional ones. Beyond number-crunchers, we want women from creative fields, authors, captains of national teams, etc. We want to make it multi-dimensional,” he said.
Jagjit Singh, chief people officer at Pwc India, said this is a very affirmative move as diversity is a critical part of the overall talent agenda. “We are extremely positive about this initiative. The fact that IIMK is looking to bring in these women from diverse backgrounds is also crucial given that they will bring in the much-needed diversity of thought, intent and action,” he said.
However, diversity needs to go beyond gender, he said.
PwC recruits from multiple campuses, including women’s-only colleges.
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While IIM K has yet to finalise the details, Chatterjee said he expects the ministry to be receptive. “We are autonomous institutes and each institute should be allowed to explore its own path of excellence,” he said. This, he said, is in line with global institutes, which look not just at academic excellence but also extraordinary achievement in other fields, during their admission processes. The institute will adhere to the prevailing reservation norms for socially disadvantaged communities, he said.
While other IIMs have been making changes to their admission criteria for better gender and academic diversity, supernumerary seats for only women may not be on their immediate agenda.
“We have taken some interventions for some time now, wherein we give some incentives based on gender to increase the number of women in our selectable pool. In the process, we have already increased women enrolment three times in the last five-six years to 26-32%,” said Prashant Mishra, dean, new initiatives and external relations at IIM Calcutta.