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Gender Survey: in collaboration with GATI

April 23, 2023
- Shashwat Sharma, Pratham Kailasiya, Vansh Mehra


  1. This survey was conducted in January of 2023, with us receiving 82 responses. Of these, 19.5 percent came from Ph.D Scholars, another 14.2 percentage came from Masters Students and the rest came from students pursuing their Bachelors Degree.

  2. The survey was conducted with the aim of mapping the gender biases and gender-based discrimination that exists in IIT-Roorkee and how it affects the people of the institute. This survey was conducted in collaboration with GATI, IIT Roorkee (Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions) which is a pilot project by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to promote gender sensitization and gender equity across institutions in India.

Gender based discrimination is a situation where an individual is treated differently because of their gender. This usually stems from a systematic bias that exists in the minds of individuals- where they reinforce stereotypes and existing gender norms.

Women are often at the receiving end of this bias, with many of them facing problems like violence, harassment, discrimination in workplaces as well as restrictions from their families. Men suffer from this patriarchal society too, with many of them being forced to behave in a certain way and conforming to the ‘expected’ gender norms. This negative idea of masculinity perpetuates the cycle of inequality and discrimination. Those not fitting into these stereotypes are vulnerable to derision and teasing.

Through this survey, we gained insight into the problems faced by the various genders on campus. We are in no capacity qualified or knowledgeable to provide solutions to these problems. Here, we aim to discuss these issues in detail, and aim to understand where they stem from.

1. Which gender do you identify with?

50.6% of participants of this survey identify themselves as men, 45.7% as women and the rest 3.7% as non-binary.

2. Have you ever felt certain opportunities were not available to you because of your gender?

Majority of people denied any role of gender in fair access to opportunities. However those who felt otherwise fell short by a small margin.

When asked about the availability of opportunities based on gender, most of the people acknowledged the gender specific opportunities given by some companies offering special internship programmes and scholarships for women. There is a notion among the men of the campus specifically that despite possessing similar skill sets and job requirements, companies tend to prefer women over men. While there is no denying that gender specific hiring is done by some companies, giving an edge to women, it is important to understand and analyze the impact that gender specific hiring has.

A. Importance & Requirement of Gender Specific Hiring:

Gender Specific Hiring is a form of affirmative action, where a disadvantaged group- women in this case, either have exclusive opportunities available to them, or are preferred over others in hirings. This is done in order to provide equity of opportunities to women in the workplace, especially in a field like technology, where women have been vastly underrepresented. Moreover, they also aim to acknowledge the stereotyping and barriers that women face in educational institutions, workplaces, and even from their families.

Gender specific hiring has tangible and measurable benefits, including but not limited to the greater collaboration between various genders, creating role models for other women and a more inclusive work environment for all minorities.

However, at IITR Gender Specific Hiring is perceived to be a form of ‘discrimination’ against men. What often starts as a feeling of discontent, often transforms itself into extreme misogyny, with some individuals equating all achievements of women to be a virtue of their gender. This narrative that female students are able to smoothly sail their way through internship/placement season because of their gender exposes them to a number of snide remarks – be it directly, or indirectly in the form of online discourse and memes. A number of female respondents shared how this often leads them to a feeling under-confident about their abilities and achievements.

B. The need for women representation in STEM Education.

A really concerning trend was finally addressed a few years back - the percentage of women studying in IITs being less than a meagre 10% . Joint Admissions Board of the IITs constituted a committee to investigate this gap and make suggestions to increase the number of women joining the IITs. One of the crucial recommendations that the committee made was the addition of supernumerary seats in IITs for women, to which the Board did agree.

The findings of the committee indisputably pointed to the social barries that exist for a woman in a patriarchal society to be the root cause of this. The gap between the percentage of girls who were eligible to enroll in an IIT (11%–12.5%) and the 8%–9% who ended up doing so is the main issue that the sypernumerary seats tried to address.

This gap was thought to be largely due to the fact that many females are reluctant to attend an IIT that is located far from their homes, because their families would not want them there.

A major concerning takeaway from the findings of this committee,however, is the low percentage of women that qualify the JEE-Advanced exam.The committee study did acknowledge JEE tests may be designed in a way that excludes girls, and that the gender gap is further compounded by gender barriers present in pre-IIT coaching classes. These classes are expensive and often located in faraway places,thus making them less accessible.

“People told me that I shouldn’t be a mechanical engineer cause it’s not a woman’s job or like I’m too weak to do such things cause I’m a girl”

On the other side of the spectrum, a lot of the responses, especially by women, highlighted the stereotyping of some specific fields as being appropriate for men only.

Fields like Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering traditionally perceived to be courses dominated by men, still retain this bias as some faculties believe that industry and field work requires physical force which women are not capable of doing. We’ll specifically talk about the bias that girls face from faculties in the next section.

3. Do you feel that an institutional barrier (from professors and in campus clubs) exists in our institute which leads to gender specific bias in the day to day working?

Majority of the people do not believe that there exists an institutional barrier(from professors and in campus clubs) in our institute which leads to gender specific bias in the day to day working.Here we could divide the problem at hand into 3 major aspects: representation in tech groups and preferential treatment by professors

A. The Group Question: What our tech groups have to say?

About the campus groups, especially the tech groups there is a belief that gender-specific recruitments happen with the aim to maintain a gender ratio within themselves. This topic though is much more nuanced, so we have additionally gathered testimonials from members of various campus groups to understand if gender-specific recruitments are indeed happening in campus groups.

“When it comes to recruitments, we recruit solely on the basis of skill assessment.

In recent years we have seen a good turnout from female applicants hence it (maintaining gender representation) was not felt needed. That being said, members (on a personal level) regularly reach out to female mentees and encourage/guide them to participate in our events if interested.”

- MDG Space

“Well as far as QCG is concerned, quantum computing is not as popular a field amongst UG students as software dev, robotics, etc is. Moreover, it is still in its developing stage and therefore, is primarily research oriented. Hence, the number of interested students applying for recruitments itself is very low. In such a situation, implementing any kind of gender criteria is difficult. We purely look for students who are interested in learning and exploring the field along with promoting it on campus.”

- Quantum Computing Group (QCG)

“During our recruitment process what we focus on more is how much the student is interested in joining the group and wants to learn things. We don’t have gender specifications.”


“We do not consider gender while recruiting. No active efforts are made to maintain the gender ratio. This is also very evident in the fact that some of the tech groups have just one or two female members. We consider the skills and passion of the applicants for the concerned field is more important. Hence we recruit people on the basis of skills and, in the past, we’ve always got a good response from girls. But we do make efforts to make sure it’s a safe and healthy environment for everyone.”

- SDSLabs

“About gender diversity during the recruitments, we do not keep a specific ratio in hand, but we do consider specific practical cases. Like the case of the latest recruitment drive the number of female candidates selected in the pool was really really low. This number points to the systemic barriers in the length we are adopting during the recruitments. The next time we considered a fresh and more inclusive process, we were able to get a good number of female candidates, doing pretty well in the group currently. Same goes for promotion, these systemic barriers are constantly brought into notice and addressed so that there is no blatant skew in the number while keeping all deserving candidates, irrespective of gender, up for promotions. This helps in having decent gender diversity in the group for encouraging more people to apply and also getting a multitude of ideas in the process.”


“Basically BlocSoc tries to maintain a good ratio of girls and boys, we try there are girls in the group, although only a few girls apply for the recruitments so we don’t have much choice but usually we try to ensure that there is a good ratio.”

- BlocSoc IITR

“The teams do consider recruiting at least a couple of girls. But it’s a general trend we have seen that under equal testing parameters girls don’t perform that well in recruitments. One major reason for this can be lack of passion for motorsports. But again those who are passionate do perform well and end up getting recruited. But that number is low. Sometimes we have to bend our recruitment procedure to take in girls.”

- IITR MotorSports

“Infosec is an open group so it does not hold the recruitments.

The core team is dynamic and at any given point, is formed by people who have been active for the past few six months or so. There might be something to say about this being a metric that’s harder for girls given the lack of existing female members in the group but as far as an organizational level, there’s no recruitment considerations in place since there are no recruitments.”

- InfoSec IITR

“Recruitments are basically based on candidates having shared values and performing well in the recruitment tests and technical interviews. The shared values include willingness to contribute to the club, taking initiative, risk-taking to pursue something else, and spreading the culture of finance in the campus.”

- Finance Club

“In our senior years there were not many active girls in DSG, in my year as well I remember I was the only one selected in the first recruitment. This poses a concern with no proper representation of women in the tech clubs, which manifests into trouble for those girls who are selected and now have to work in the group surrounded only by boys. Though we don’t keep a special bar for girls, and seek recruitment purely based on skills and knowledge. But thankfully this year the number of female applicants were sizable and the recruitments were based only on experience in the concerned field.”


“In my experience at ArIES, the no. of female members interested in recruitment is quite low to begin with, but we have recruited a good fraction of these students. We have also given them adequate representation, and they have played pivotal roles in important tech events. The issue isn’t with disregarding the gender ratio at the time of recruitment, but the fact that a very low number of female students are interested in tech groups to begin with, and even out of those, only a fraction possess the prerequisites that some clubs require.”


“At VLG, we most value one’s interest and passion for AI research and its applications regarding recruitment for the core team. VLG, an open group, also recruits people who regularly attend its discussions. In other words, we focus on skills, knowledge, and interests while recruiting. We do not care about any other factor while recruiting for our team.”


“We try to take in members based on skills mostly, their interest and dedication to the club is the deciding factor. If more people cross the benchmark, we try to balance the ratio by either recruiting more or removing some selected candidates in case of no vacant positions available.”

- Enactus IITR

While the members of most groups ascertain that gender-specific recruitments do not happen in their groups, it is clear that this belief is indeed a misconception in the general population of IITR. This has extreme consequences for women, especially in their first year of college, where they are constantly targeted by their male counterparts for ‘misusing’ this preferential treatment This targeting ranges from taunting to use of extremely misogynistic slurs against women. Plenty of examples of the same can be found on posts by IITR Honest Confessions. Multiple women and gender minorities have revealed how uncomfortable these posts make them. One such individual says:

My selection in IIT is always looked down upon by many because I am a girl. Also all my selection in different clubs is also always looked down on by saying things like “you were selected because you are a girl.”

B. Preferential treatment by Professors

A lot of our respondents reported instances of preferential treatment towards girls by some professors. There’s a sentiment present among male respondents that professors and lab instructors tend to be ‘lenient’ with female students and that their female batchmates receive preferential treatment when being awarded marks. Again the root cause of the problem here is the patriarchy deeply ingrained in our institutions that patronizes women and fosters a culture where men tend to help women as they believe women themselves are not competent enough.

A student from the chemical engineering department responded-

When the catcalling incidents happened in March 2022, one of my professors made the following remarks: “I’ve seen girls roam around MAC at 3 am in the night, if you do this, and demand security from the administration, only you are to blame”- this was done when atleast 5-6 girls were sitting directly in front of him. This is a classic example of victim blaming, I can only guess how terrible they must have felt about it.

4. Do you feel like gender sensitization is a topic which is adequately covered in the orientation that fresher’s receive?

More than 70% of the survey pool feels gender sensitization is a topic which is not adequately covered in the fresher’s orientation. People also consider this as a prime issue as this topic requires time and experts from the field to be discussed thoroughly and not just be touched upon superficially. People also felt that the needs of queer students should also be accommodated in gender sensitisation sessions as this isn’t something that is touched upon in any official channels.

One of the respondents said:

Nope. There’s a certain stigma attached to the subject. And the people who try to bring up gender sensitization as a topic of discussion often end up being the subject of ridicule. I have seen some freshers proclaiming themselves “proudly homophobic” and mock reasoning.

5. Which of the following issues are important to you?

  1. The junta acknowledged moral policing regarding an individual’s attire as the most pressing issue with more than 64% agreeing upon.Even though the university does not have a prescribed uniform, some professors are found to comment on the ‘professionalism’ of students who wear shorts or pajamas to their classes.Though there is no moral code of conduct strictly imposed over the students but from the general observances and instances people acknowledge the perception that some dresses are more appropriate than the others. This issue is again more pressing for the girls and women in the campus.
  2. This is followed by 59.3% agreeing on the issue of lack of co-working spaces within the campus, other than SAC which is convenient and accessible to work only to the members of some campus clubs, Library and LHC which are closed based on timings imposed. The lack of co-working spaces problem amplifies when students, not necessarily in some tech-club need to discuss any idea, collaborate for any hackathons or projects, competition or any event, with his/her team mate from the other gender. The library cannot be used for such purposes where intensive discussions are necessary for obvious reasons.
  3. This was followed by the strict segregation of hostels based on gender and restricted entry in hostels beyond midnight, with around 44% people considering these issues to be of importance.
  4. The gender-neutral washrooms are a concern in few areas within the campus including the RKB, RJB, Rajiv, Cautley Bhawan where girls have access to MAC washrooms only, which also most of the times is inaccessible and locked.

6. Which of the following has been the biggest obstacle in the development of your career?

The participants of the survey consider lack of contacts and recommendation as the biggest obstacle in the development of their career. Followed by lack of skill sets required for the job. Personality, poor academic performance, family background, language, gender and community they belong to follow sequentially.

7. Do you believe that women have the same level of safety/security/independence within the IITR community as men?

Most of the people believe women do have the same level of safety/security/independence within the IITR community as men.

8. Do you think reserving seats for women in UG/PG student bodies (SAC, DAPC, Council) would bring any positive changes to the institute?

Most people agreed that reserving seats for women in UG/PG student bodies (SAC, DAPC, Council) would bring positive changes to the institute.

The official councils have a history of mostly being taken charge over by men and mostly comprising of male representatives. The student bodies also need to be more inclusive for women when it comes to representation. This would give women a forum to not only put the problems they face on desk but also a considerable say in the decision making process.

  • 39% of men don’t want reservations for women
  • 61% of men do
  • 16% of women dont want reservations for women
  • 84% of women do

When asked about how aware the campus junta is about ICC (Internal Complaints Commitee) and rules related to sexual harassment on campus, most replied with knowing what ICC is but unaware of its functioning, followed by those who have not heard of ICC and related rules and those well acquainted with ICC. It is alarming that just 20 percent of individuals are aware of something as important as the Internal Complaints Committee. In such a situation it will be very difficult for them to report any case of harassment that they might have faced. There is an urgent need to spread awareness about the existence and functioning of such a body on the institute level.

10. Are you aware of the GATI (Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions) program instituted by the Department of Science and Technology?

Majority of the students were unaware of the GATI (Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions) program instituted by the Department of Science and Technology. GATI has existed for more than a year now, but the impact it should have been making is not keeping up with the exponential rise of new problems coming up with every misogynist statement, each cat-calling.