The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad on January 3 announced the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2021 results. A total of 9 candidates secured 100 percentile of which all are male students. A total of 19 candidates (all male) secured 99.99 percentiles. Of the 19 candidates who have achieved the 99.98 percentile, only one is female. For the fourth year in a row, no female candidate has achieved a cent per cent score.
In 2020, a total of 9 candidates had scored 100 percentile and all of them were male. In 2019, the female category topper had scored 99.89 percentile. Rounak Majumdar had aced CAT 2018 with 100 percentile with no female in the top spots. In 2017, 20 candidates had scored 100 percentile and the top 20 included female candidates.
The trend could be attributed to the lesser women applying for the management entrance exam. Almost every year, the number of women candidates is half of the total registrations by male applicants. In CAT 2021, a total of 1.24 lakh men took the exam as compared to only 66,850 women. Similarly in 2019, a total of 2.44 lakh candidates applied for CAT, of which over 1.6 lakh were male and only 86,000 were female.
MP Ram Mohan, professor at IIM Ahmedabad and CAT2021 Convenor, had earlier told indianexpress.com that there could be several reasons why male candidates outnumber females writing CAT but the primary reason includes the academic background of the test-takers.
“Though it requires a detailed analysis of behaviour and educational interest, out of many, one primary reason could be that majority of the CAT applications and MBA candidates continue to be from engineering disciplines. I am not commenting on the merits and demerits of disciplines, but, as we know male candidates outnumber females in engineering colleges,” Professor Ram had said.
One of the reasons why women are unable to grab the top spots could be social conventions. Himanshu Rai, director of IIM Indore, said that it is not just about the perception of a sector, but also about what it takes to break the glass ceiling.
“Societal pressure or perception is not limited to restricting girls from entering a particular sector, but not putting them through what it takes to crack an entrance exam. Access to coaching centres is limited for students in rural areas, especially for girls. The concept of clearing exams has now become a synonym to studying in Kota or Rajinder Nagar, but not every parent is comfortable sending their daughters out of their hometown. Hence, the dreams are crushed before there is even any effort in that direction,” he said.
Rai believes that institutes need to take affirmative reaction to resolve the issue, which would allow more females to enter the management classrooms. “There is a need to provide additional marks or ease admission provisions for candidates from non-STEM academic backgrounds. Integrated programmes that allow students to join after class 12 can also help in dodging the gender ratio problem in engineering courses,” he added.