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Presentation on theme: "LEADERSHIP IN INDIAN ACADEMIA: THE MISSING MINERVA? Neelam Kumar CSIR-NISTADS India"— Presentation transcript:


2 ABSTRACT Gender-based disadvantages of a patriarchal culture continue even in the twenty-first century India. Numerically, the Indian higher education system is one of the largest in the world, with 659 universities (out of which only around six are women’s universities) and approximately 4500 women’s colleges out of about 35,539 under-graduate colleges. Modern education for women in India began in the early years of the nineteenth century and by the 1880s universities started admitting them. The progress was extremely slow until 1921, but there had been a phenomenal growth over the decades. India has a rich legacy of eminent women in different fields. Hansaben Mehta as early as 1946, not only became a Vice Chancellor, but could make outstanding contributions to the development of education in India. Despite consistent increase in the number of women students enrolled in higher education, low number of women in academic positions especially at leadership level remains a disturbing mark in Indian academia. Higher education system in India essentially reflect masculine ethos! Vertical as well as hierarchical segregation in terms of gender remains a persistent phenomenon. Though, there is lack of systematic and comprehensive data, it is clear that only a handful of women hold the positions of authority or decision-making, such as Rector or Dean.

3 INITIATIVES! Indian educational policies are somewhat away from serious or meaningful gender concerns. A few meaningless efforts, with somewhat superficial objectives, to enhance and increase the number of women manager in higher education have recently been initiated. The persistent gender gap in education reflects poorly on the Indian policies and the missing Minervas! The specific objectives of the scheme of capacity building of Women Manager in Higher Education are to develop a perspective plan and strategy for reducing the gender gap in higher education system, to offer various training programmes at different levels for stimulating women to aspire to become administrators etc. A scheme has initiated by UGC and implemented to increase the participation of women in higher education management for better gender balance; to sensitize the higher education system through policies and procedures, and to develop qualitative higher education by involving the unutilized pool of women capable of becoming administrators. CAPACITY BUILDING FOR WOMEN MANAGERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION DURING 2007-2012.

4 The specific objectives of the scheme are to develop: 1) a perspective plan and strategy for reducing the gender gap in the higher education system, to offer various training programmes at different levels to women for stimulating them to aspire to become administrators, to develop relevant training materials for various programmes in print and electronic media, to support gender positive initiatives such as gender equity cell and developing sensitivity index, etc., to increase and support development of linkages among women managers in higher education through networking etc.

5 some of the prevalent problems of women in higher education in India Fewer in number! More women than ever enroll in higher education, yet the number of women in senior leadership remains low. Lower in number at higher echelons. as one moves up the ladder of power and prestige, the female faces disappear face barriers at entry and at all stages of the academic ladder Women remain at the outer circle. For example, they are in low numbers in the editorial boards. The under-representation of women on boards and at the head of higher- education institutions reflects their difficulty to influence the policies. Women are in low numbers in the prestigious positions, editorial boards and also lesser recipients of awards. Even if women are nominated for research prizes however unconscious bias and men running prize panels seems to be swaying award outcomes! While 60% of the country’s university lecturers are women, the proportion falls to 40% at the level of associate professor and slumps to 20% at the professor level..

6 The number of women in higher education is now equal to, and in many South Asian countries surpasses, men at undergraduate level. Yet, this has not translated into senior appointments and leaderships positions within higher education institutions themselves. For example, only three per cent of vice- chancellors in India were women (six of the 13 female vice-chancellors are at women-only institutions) in the year 2002. A December 2009 UGC study found that of the country’s 431 recognized universities, only 13 had women vice-chancellors – just 3% of the total – and just under half of these were at women-only colleges. Another study later reported that there are nine women vice-chancellors against the total number of 70, two pro pro vice-chancellors against 24, two proctor/rector against 19, 50 deans against 367, six registrars against 77, 27 deputy registrars against 298, 67 assistant registrars against 504, five controller of examination against 57, three finance officers against 66, 723 academic council members against 42167, 31 members of finance committee against 400 and 31 members of finance boards against 400 in India

7 Women head the exclusive women’s universities of India Numerically, the Indian higher education system is one of the largest in the world "glass ceiling effects” women are still under- represented in positions of power, responsibility and leadership, despite the dramatic increase in their formal employment over the last five decades. Even for women who succeed at university, the route to the top in academia is difficult. In general, in India, it is very difficult to get gender segregated data. a survey was carried out reveals the same trend: women accounted for less than 10% vice chancellors, registrars. In senior academic administrative positions like Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments etc., again there were less than 10% women. Mainly where there were women, they came in because of the rotation system. that the percentage of women at all levels of decision-making is very small, be it in the administrative or academic hierarchy. In fact, as the level goes higher, the percentage share of women goes down!








15 POSSIBLE REASONS? gendered divisions of labour; gender bias and misrecognition; stereotypes of management and masculinity; and work/life balance challenges. Recently structured interventions have been developed to encourage more women to enter leadership positions in universities. These are based on the assumption that “Often women think they are good at academics and there is no need to get into administrative issues. Many don’t even think about leadership roles. The UGC programme aims to build awareness among women about their capacity to lead in higher education,”



18 Women do not get equal recognition in the field of science. The following figure illustrates this well: Source: Indian Academy of Sciences

19 In India the first graduate degrees were granted to women in 1883, Dr. Kadambini Basu received her medical degree in 1886 from Calcutta University. Modern education for women in India began in the early years of the nineteenth century and by the 1880s universities started admitting them. Progress was extremely slow particularly until 1921. Female literacy crawled from 0.2 per cent in 1881 to 1.8 per cent in 1921. There was a relatively quicker pace after 1921 and a substantial advance came about only after independence. Yet, the National Committee on Women's Education could register a slow progress of women's education in the first decade of independence. Analysis of documents pertaining to women’s education in India in the period 1850–1920 has shown that the number of female students in schools and colleges in India increased by a factor of eight between 1881 and 1915. Till 1911, nowhere in British India more than one per cent of the female population had access to education at any level.

20 The development strategy in independent India in the 1950s depended heavily on the planning. Therefore, development plans were prepared for five years and are referred to as the Five-Year Plans. The very First Plan (1951-56) of the Government gave some attention to women but, as a subject of ‘welfare’. The shift in the approach from ‘welfare’ to ‘development’ of women could take place only in the Sixth Plan (1980-85). The Sixth Five Year Plan for the first time included a chapter on "Women and Development". Though the Fifth and the Sixth Five Year Plans talked of women’s education, these did not stress the need for any planned programmes to ensure women’s participation in science or technology. Gender-blindness is evident in all the other subsequent plans and policies related to science. While addressing questions of equity in access to higher education, no mention is made to specifically ensure that women have access to science education. It is as if the gender component need not be considered while discussing ways to strengthen science teaching or improving infrastructure. the report of the committee on the status of women, 1974 also provided a broader perspective which led to a shift from a welfare approach to making women active partners in the development process.

21 The policies and programmes related to women’s access to higher education (particularly science and technology) and their career growth are often face critique and also held responsible apart from the constraints discussed above. The shortfalls are often attributed to the lack of clarity on the purpose of women’s education in educational planning. For instance, the National Committee on Women’s Education (1956) set up to scrutinize the special problems of women's education, on the one hand emphasized the need to bridge the gap between the education of men and women and on the other reiterated the traditional gender roles in society. Similarly, all the other important commissions such as the University Education Commission (1948-49); Secondary Education Commission (1952-53); National Commission on Women's Education (1958); National Council for Women's Education; Baktavatsalam Committee (1963); National Committee on Women's Education (1970) were hesitant in defining the aims of women's education, and seem to have been caught in contradictory value systems while defining the purpose of female education. The Draft National Policy on Education admitted that although education had expanded in all sectors yet imbalances and inequalities continued to exist. By the 1970s, however, there was a growing awareness that gender is an important social category, which needs to be taken into account in development planning. The Women's Decade in India began in 1975 with an official report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India. The Report of the Committee on the Status of Women (1974), better known as the Towards Equality Report, set clear guidelines on the aims of female education. In recent years there are various efforts by government bodies to also enhance women’s access to science careers.

22 GLIMPSES OM WOMEN IN SCIENCE IN INDIA In colonial India science education aimed at creating local pillars of support for the colonial government. Those days to think of a female Indian scientist was virtually impossible. It is only in the twentieth century that some women could get some training in physics and other basic sciences. In the field of medicine of course a very limited opportunity opened up in 1880s and one finds a few Indian women doctors like Kadambini Basu, Anandi Bai and Hemvati Sen. Yet, the number of women in science and medicine remained low over the years. By 1890 women had secured admission to medical colleges or schools in Agra, Bombay, Calcutta and Lahore. During year 1941-42, the enrolment pattern in Indian universities for the shows that the total number of girls enrolled for undergraduate course in science was 903 in comparison to 11, 217 boys. Only 83 girls were enrolled for a postgraduate course in science in contrast to 1,321 boys. While in medicine their number was 778 against 6,093 boys, in the engineering only 1 was enrolled with 2,718 boys. The debates, however, continued over the subjects taught to women. Even a ‘Committee on Differentiation of Curricula for Boys and Girls’ was established in 1964. Science and technology in India could witness expansion in the post- Independence era. What has been the situation of women?



25 Women participation in extramural R&D projects has increased significantly to 31% in 2009-10 from 13% in 2000-01 due to various initiatives undertaken by the Government in S&T sector. In absolute terms, 1,324 women Principal Investigators (PI) during 2009-10 availed extramural R&D support as against 232 in 2000-01.




29 EMPLOYMENT PATTERN  In all, there were 61,050 women employed in R&D establishments, which was 15.6% of the total employed in such establishments.  The percentage of women by nature of activity was 12.7% (19,707) primarily engaged in R&D activities, 14.9% (15,802) in auxiliary activities and 19.6% (25,541) in administrative activities.  By level of qualifications they were comprised of 18.7% Ph.Ds, 39.2% Post Graduates, 31.6% Graduates and 10.5% Diploma Holders and other qualifications.  By field of science, it was noted that 29.9% were from natural sciences, 39.0% were from engineering and technology, 14.8% were from medicine, 10.3% were from agricultural sciences while 6.0% were with background in social sciences.

30 Out of every 100 women employed in Central Sector, 29.2% were engaged directly in R&D activities, 28.1% were performing auxiliary activities and 42.6% were providing administrative support. The percentage of women working for Administrative activities is quite high as compared to working for R&D and auxiliary activities.




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