Despite Being School Toppers, Why Are Women Lagging Behind Men?

Year after year, girls are acing board exams and still their representation across sectors is less than a quarter. 

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Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam

On 5 April, results of Bihar Board Class X exams were announced and yet again, the topper is a girl. Even in the Class XII exam, a girl student has topped. In CBSE, too, girls are ahead of boys in both senior and higher secondary exams.

But, if girls perform so well in school level examinations, why is there an abysmal representation of women across sectors – jobs, businesses, politics, etc?

Do they lose interest in studies later on? Or do they become weak in their studies? What is the real reason behind half our population lagging behind?

Female Participation In Higher Education

If we look at educational institutions like IITs, in 2019, only 946 female candidates got admitted to 23 IITs – about 17 percent of its total student capacity. And this was only possible because IITs have introduced a supernumerary quota for girls.

In 2019, out of total 829 candidate who cleared UPSC, 632 were male and 197 were females, ie, women consisted of less than a quarter of the total selected candidates. 

In 2018, only 182 women were selected which was around 24 percent of the total selection. Half the population, less than a quarter of the total representation.

Female Participation In Private Sector

As per the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), in 2019-20, there were only 8 percent women on the board of directors of listed companies. In India, only 1.7 percent of CEOs are women.

As per World Bank data, the Female Labour Force Participation rate in 1990 was 30.27 percent, which fell to 20.8 percent in 2019. CMIE also says that only 7 percent of urban women are either employed or looking for employment.

Why Are Women Lagging Behind?

If we look closely, we realise that there is an organised mechanism in the society that weakens women and thus they are unable to rise and compete fairly with their male counterparts.

As per National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), in 2019, 87 cases of crime against women were registered everyday which was 7 percent more than that of 2018. In 2019, 17.9 percent cases of crime against women were of kidnapping and 7.9 percent were of rape. Which clearly shows how safe it is for women to step out of their houses.

These records show that women don’t get weak after scoring high in board exams, but it’s the unavailability of a safe environment that doesn’t allow them to run in the same race as men.

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