No women studying engineering in 72' says Bihar CM Nitish Kumar; progress dwindles till date

The Minister graduated in Electrical Engineering from what is now NIT Patna in 1972 without a single girl present in his batch. It has been exactly 50 years and things aren't very different for women in engineering.

Aditi AlurkarUpdated: Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 11:49 AM IST
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CM Nitish Kumar of Bihar recalled his college days when he inaugurated a 504-bed women's hostel in Magadh Mahila College Patna on Tuesday. The Minister graduated in Electrical Engineering from what is now NIT Patna in 1972 without a single girl present in his batch. It has been exactly 50 years and things aren't very different for women in engineering. The Free Press Journal tried to navigate the experience of studying in a college with an uneven demographic

“The Pharmaceutical Engineering class has a strength of 95, out of which only 18 are girls. This means that even the 20% girls quota isn't filled,” said Anushka Chopada from IIT Varanasi.

“All our professors are men and only the extracurricular teacher is a woman. I have only attended college online so far, but I have been warned to move around only in groups after dark by the seniors, even better if the group has one guy in it,” she continued.

Yojana Chaurasia, who studies Computer Engineering at BVP was surprised to see barely 9 girls in a class of 60. “ My father and I thought that more women would opt for computers,” says Yojana. “Since there are so few of us, the professors always remember our names. But the upside is that we are always approached first when it comes to participating in events and fests.”

She speaks of always feeling watched while walking down the college corridors, “I have met wonderful people so I never feel unsafe. It definitely felt strange in the initial days, but when you go there every day you get used to it.”

Khanak Jakhar who studies at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology said, “The strength of women in a classroom highly depends on the stream. Sometimes the professors assume that the female students are incapable as you see fewer of them in core branches.

It isn’t really tough to be the center of attention as a girl in Engineering Colleges.”

The students also reported the attention turning into cases of harassment and eve-teasing, which many women are reluctant to report. The number of girls participating in sports from the colleges is a sad figure today as well.

“There were subtle road-bumps, like assumptions that women were asked easier questions during vivas,” said Jyoti Apte, who was the only girl in her entire batch of Mechanical Engineering in 1999.

“We had a teacher called Prof. Sane who then went on to become the HOD of Mech. Eng. Dpt. She would accompany us on industrial visits and had a strong presence around the department” she said.

Despite these lopsided ratios students have managed fairly well to make friends with each other and find their place within the college.

Anish Gawde who now studies Instrumentation Engineering in Mumbai reported that there were only 20 girls in his class of 70. “Though this change is drastic when you compare it with school,” said Anish, “when it comes to fests in college women are always more active. Boys, of course, find it rather tricky now to shoot their shots.”

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