In a recent report this year, the state of Gujarat stood 32nd among 28 states and 9 union territories in the gender parity index (GPI-2019) in higher education. In an All India Survey, it is revealed that Gujarat has a gender parity index of 0.85 among the lowest in the country. This means, for every 100 boys enrolled in higher education, the number of girls enrolled is only 85.
With huge infrastructure and high growth rate this dismal figure of 32 haunts Gujarat. The report includes students in the age group of 18 to 23 years who enrolled themselves in various courses for higher education. This is not the only alarming figure for Gujarat, the think tank ‘Niti Aayog’ have indicated the sex ratio at birth (SRB) as 848 in the state. As per the report “Healthy States, Progressive India”, Gujarat’s SRB- expressed as the number of girls per 1,000 boys- worsened from 854 in 2013- 15 to 848 in 2014-16 and still the figures are same. Many intellectuals do believe that with such low SRB it is almost impossible to record growth in gender parity index. They said, “Over the next few years if the situation remains same, it will be very difficult for the states like Gujarat to bridge this widening gap” It requires some urgent policies with technical aid to get sustainable futuristic results.
The country’s gender parity index in higher education have rose steadily over the past years from 0.94 in 2016-17 to 1.0 in 2018-19. The Chief Minister of Gujarat ‘Vijay Rupani’ in a recent press release have shown his deepest concern over the issue, “It is sad to learn that Gujarat, a developed state ranks a dismal 32nd among 37 states and union territories in gender parity index (GPI) in higher education. This is quite alarming and as an accountable state we take the responsibility to address the issue as soon as possible, we are very much hopeful for better figures in near future.”
Gender Parity Index (GPI) is a socio-economic index usually designed to measure the relative access to education of males and females in a country. In its simplest form it is calculated as the quotient of number of females by the number of males enrolled in a given period of time. A GPI equal to 1 signifies equality between the number of males and females. A GPI less than 1 is an indication that gender parity favours males while more than 1 favours females. The closer a GPI is to 1 the closer a country is to achieving equality of education access between males and females.