Understanding the Role of Gender Parity Index in Higher Education in India, 2023
Gender equality has been a topic of global concern for many years. In India, education is considered a critical tool for empowering women and achieving gender parity. However, despite the efforts made towards promoting gender equality in education, there are still significant gaps between men and women’s access to education, particularly in higher education. This is where the Gender Parity Index (GPI) comes into play. In this article, we will discuss the role of GPI in higher education in India.
What is Gender Parity Index?
The Gender Parity Index (GPI) is a statistical tool used to measure gender equity in education. It is calculated by dividing the number of female students enrolled in a particular level of education by the number of male students enrolled in the same level of education. The GPI ranges from 0 to 1, where a GPI value of 1 indicates complete parity between male and female students.
Role of Gender Parity Index in Higher Education in India
The Gender Parity Index plays a crucial role in higher education in India. Here are some ways in which the GPI contributes to promoting gender equity in higher education:
- Monitoring Progress towards Gender Equality: The GPI helps to monitor the progress made towards achieving gender parity in higher education. It provides policymakers and educationists with an accurate representation of the gender disparities that exist in higher education and helps to identify areas where action needs to be taken.
- Identifying Barriers to Gender Equality: The GPI helps to identify the barriers that prevent women from accessing higher education. For instance, if the GPI for a particular region is low, it could be an indication that there are socio-economic or cultural barriers that prevent women from accessing higher education.
- Encouraging Policy Intervention: The GPI encourages policy intervention to promote gender equity in higher education. When policymakers and educationists are aware of the gender disparities that exist in higher education, they can develop policies and programs that are targeted towards reducing these disparities.
- Improving the Quality of Education: The GPI can also be used to improve the quality of education for both male and female students. By identifying areas where gender disparities exist, policymakers and educationists can develop targeted interventions that are designed to improve the quality of education for both genders.
In a nutshell we can say that, Gender parity index is an essential tool for promoting gender equity in higher education in India. It helps to identify the barriers that prevent women from accessing higher education and encourages policymakers and educationists to develop targeted interventions to reduce these barriers. By monitoring progress towards gender equality and improving the quality of education, the GPI can contribute towards achieving gender parity in higher education in India.
Status of GPI at Higher Education in India
The table shows the Gender Parity Index (GPI) in higher education (ages 18-23) for different states and union territories in India. The GPI is a measure of gender equality that compares the ratio of females to males in a particular area of interest, such as education.
Needless to mention that an index of 1 indicates perfect gender parity, where the number of females enrolled in higher education is equal to the number of males enrolled. A value greater than 1 indicates that there are more females than males enrolled, while a value less than 1 indicates the opposite.
Looking at the data, we can see that the Gender Parity Index (GPI) in higher education (18-23 years) is above 1 for most States/UTs, indicating that female students are outnumbering male students in higher education. However, the GPI varies across states and across different categories of students.
Overall, the GPI for higher education in India is 1.05, indicating a slight higher enrollment of females than males. However, the GPI varies widely across different states and union territories, with some areas showing higher gender parity than others. The GPI for SC and ST students also varies across different states and union territories, with some areas showing higher gender parity for these groups than others.
Gender Parity Index (GPI) in Higher Education (18-23 Years), 2020-21
|Andaman & Nicobar Islands||1.26||1.55|
|Jammu and Kashmir||1.18||1.27||0.92|
|The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and
Daman and Diu
Source: AISHE, 2020-21
For instance, states such as Lakshadweep (GPI of 3.48) and Ladakh (GPI of 2.20) show a significantly higher enrollment of females compared to males, while others such as Bihar (GPI of 0.91) and Maharashtra (GPI of 0.92) have lower enrollment of females. Kerala has the highest GPI of 1.52 for all categories, which means that there are 52 percent more female students than male students in higher education in Kerala. On the other hand, Lakshadweep has the highest GPI of 3.48 for all categories, indicating a significant gender gap in higher education in this union territory.
Among the remaining states, Bihar has the lowest GPI of 0.91 for all categories, which means that there are only 91 female students for every 100 male students in higher education in Bihar. The GPI is also low for SC students in Bihar (0.72) and ST students in Bihar (0.79), indicating a significant gender gap among these categories of students.
Overall, the data shows that while there has been progress in achieving gender parity in higher education in India, there are still significant disparities across states and categories of students. Policymakers need to focus on addressing these disparities to ensure that all students, regardless of gender or social background, have equal opportunities to pursue higher education.
What implications it has got for India higher education to grow?
The data on Gender Parity Index (GPI) in higher education provides important insights into the status of gender equality in India’s education system. While the overall GPI for higher education is 1.05, indicating a slight edge for female students, there are significant variations among states and categories.
The higher GPI for SC and ST students in some states indicates that affirmative action policies have been effective in improving access to education for marginalized groups. However, the lower GPI for female students in some states underscores the need for concerted efforts to improve girls’ enrollment and retention in schools.
Ensuring gender parity in higher education has several implications for India’s development. It can lead to greater economic growth and productivity, as women’s education and employment have been shown to be positively correlated. It can also contribute to reducing gender-based violence and discrimination, as educated women are more likely to challenge patriarchal norms and practices.
Therefore, policymakers and educational institutions should focus on ensuring gender parity in education by addressing socio-economic and cultural barriers that prevent girls from accessing education. This includes improving infrastructure, ensuring safety and security, providing scholarships and financial assistance, and promoting gender-sensitive curricula and teaching practices.
With present level of GPI, can India achieve a Gross Enrolment Ratio of 50 percent by 2035?
The GPI is an important factor to consider for achieving a higher Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education. However, it is not the only factor. Other factors such as access to education, quality of education, availability of infrastructure, and financial resources also play a crucial role in achieving the target of 50 percent GER by 2035.
It is important to note that the GPI is an indicator of gender equity in education and does not necessarily guarantee an increase in enrolment rates. India will have to continue to focus on improving access to education and providing quality education to all students, regardless of gender or social background, to achieve the 50 percent GER target.
Furthermore, it is also important to address the socio-economic factors that influence education, such as poverty, gender discrimination, and regional disparities. By addressing these issues, India can create a more inclusive and equitable education system that can lead to higher enrolment rates in higher education.
What efforts are made in India to improve GPI?
The Government of India has implemented several measures to improve the Gender Parity Index (GPI) in higher education. Some of these initiatives include:
- Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save Girl Child, Educate Girl Child): This program aims to prevent gender-biased sex-selective elimination, ensure survival, and protection of the girl child, and ensure education and participation of the girl child.
- Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA): The RUSA scheme aims to improve access, equity, and quality in higher education through planned development, adequate funding, and systematic reform.
- UGC Guidelines for Women’s Studies Centres: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines for the establishment and functioning of Women’s Studies Centres in universities and colleges to promote research and advocacy on women’s issues.
- Saksham Scholarship Scheme: The Saksham Scholarship Scheme is a financial assistance program for differently-abled students pursuing higher education.
- National Scholarship Portal (NSP): The NSP is a digital platform that provides various scholarships to students from economically weaker sections, minority communities, and other marginalized sections of society.
- Gender sensitization and awareness programs: Various institutions have introduced gender sensitization and awareness programs to promote gender equity and inclusivity on campus.
These initiatives and others like them are aimed at improving the GPI in higher education and promoting gender equity in India.