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Lokvani Team

At a time when management institutes across the world are trying to bring gender parity in male-dominated classrooms of business education, a young Indian Institute of Management (IIM) has made history by admitting more girls than boys this year.

In the cohort of 2022, IIM Raipur has 205 girls compared to 125 boys - thus overturning the gender equation on campus that had admitted 146 boys and 120 girls last year. Now, the institute has 20% more girls than boys in the flagship postgraduate programme in management.

Meanwhile, IIM Rohtak crossed the half-mark this year by admitting 54% women and IIM Kozhikode, which for one year in 2019 set aside 60 supernumerary seats, has seen the share of women candidates admitted in 2022 at 46.7%.

Apart from Raipur and Kozhikode, while many IIMs have crossed the mark of having 30% women this year (see table below), others such as IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Calcutta are slowly inching closer to that. A 2021 application trend survey by GMAC revealed that more women than men had applied to join B-schools around the world. And that is reflective in the incoming batch of B-school freshers in India too.

IIM Raipur is an example where this trend played out imposingly. The institute's admission process was gender-blind: Neither did it alter its selection process nor the interview panel. No additional marks were doled out to women candidates. "Our BoG (board of governors) chairperson is a woman. Inside the campus, there is a fair amount of change we have brought about that is gender neutral. We have sent out a lot of signals of gender neutrality, directly and indirectly. Raipur is also considered to be a safe location. Some of the women candidates abandoned better institutes and joined Raipur," said the 12-year-young institute's director Ramkumar Kakani.

IIM Kozhikode stands alongside Harvard Business School and Oxford Said as one of the most balanced MBA programmes in the world. Diversity sits at its core with strong women power in its board of governors and among faculty. "Long ago, we saw the gender ratio of the country changing. We will soon have more women than men in our country and that demographic feature of the nation is reflected on our campus. When we were making a decision about incorporating women in our campus, we were making this decision based on the changing nature of our demography, on the way corporates were thinking. It is not about numbers, it is not just a headcount we are talking about; it is about a fundamental shift in perception," said IIMK director Debashis Chatterjee. "The more diversity the better off a school is." Chatterjee was quick to add that the first step to diversity is "always uneasy".

"You are taking a risk; you do not know how it will play out. Subsequently, you will see the innovation that will come as a direct result of the diversity in the composition of students which leads to a rich confluence of ideas."


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