The last five years have seen a gigantic jump when it comes to girls taking the CAT 2018 exam – the entrance test for IIMs. The entrance exam, which took place on November 25, saw 50 per cent more women candidates than six years ago, according to reports.

This year, 84,350 women registered for the CAT compared to 56,409 in 2013

This year had 2.41 lakh aspirants overall, compared to 2.29 lakh last year, of whom 78,009 were women. The CAT registration data for the two years revealed that of the 12,000 more candidates who registered, 6,300 were women.

“The IIMs are consciously giving leverage to women to increase diversity in classrooms. We want more women in our institutes,” CAT convener Sumanta Basu from IIM Calcutta told TOI.

The highest jump, however, was in 2015, when women candidates went up from 69,176 the previous year (2014) to 76,704. Also, 2015 saw an enormous growth in overall registrations, which went up by over 20,000.

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Reports suggest that the IIMs have been carefully reserving seats for women and non-engineers to welcome diversity. IIM-Kozhikode was the first institution to set aside seats for women in 2013.

With this move, IIM-K had 54 per cent of the institute’s PGP (postgraduate programme in management) batch of 361 students as women. Progressively, 60 per cent of summer placement jobs also went to them.

In August, there were reports that IIM Kozhikode has been planning to allot 60 additional seats in the post-graduate programme (PGP) exclusively for women. With this move, IIM Kozhikode becomes the first institute among IIMs to create additional seats for women. These 60 women-only seats will be effective from the next academic year.

Women also contributed to over 50 per cent growth in total registrations from 2017

In order to encourage gender diversity in classrooms, many IIMs also give about 5 per cent additional points. Prashanth Nair, centre director for Mumbai in a leading coaching institute, informed TOI they have seen a jump in the number of girls taking coaching.

IIMs are known to have changed their eligibility criteria over the years. Also, the weightage given to CAT differs for all IIMs. Now, parameters considered for shortlisting candidates for GD, PI and written ability test also include class X and XII scores. “Girls do better in school and higher secondary classes, but as families prefer sending boys for coaching for preparation of entrance exams, they may be doing better there,” said Kozhikode director Debashis Chatterjee.
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