Reservations for women in IIT entrance exam is counterproductive and regressive

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We protest this regressive and counterproductive move to segregate women in the admission process to the IITs. Some of us are engineers, some of us went to IITs, some of us are women, but we are all united by the call to end this unfair move.

IITs are world famous for nurturing the best engineering minds. IIT entrance exams have been a hallmark of meritocracy. Many illustrious women have been admitted through this rigorous process, and have gone on to becoming leaders in academia, industry and Government. 

Giving women special privileges is detrimental to the fight for equality. Women do not need special treatment - they are equally capable. Reservation is an absolutely wrong and unfair on so many levels both to women and men.

Instead we need to fix the social problems at the grassroots level, like encouraging more girls to complete basic schooling, reducing female dropouts at high school level, encouraging more women to take up STEM courses etc. IITs and the HRD ministry need to dedicate resources to bring in high performing women students from high schools across the country and provide them intensive guidance and motivate them towards pursue IIT entrance exams.

Women indeed face many challenges once they are in IIT. There can be many fronts to improve quality of life for women at IIT. This includes be (i) a campus-wide cell to monitor claims of sexual harassment (ii) more campus police to improve security inside the campus. (iii) bring in women alumni and provide good role models to the students and learn about the challenges they faced. Indeed, more discussion needs to go into this.

Creating a reservation quota will destroy the confidence of young women. As it is, they are battling harmful effects of sexism and patriarchy in their formative years. This reservation sends the harmful message that they need to be segregated for their own protection. It sets them up for failure and gives people another excuse to discriminate against them. 

We are appalled that no women were involved in making this decision and no IIT women alumni were consulted. There was no effort made to learn from the experiences of women who have succeeded despite these huge odds.

We hope that Prof. Timothy Gonsalves and the HRD ministry will respond to our request.

A recent article about this: