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Indian Women in Doctoral Education: Some Encouraging Signs, the Path Ahead, and Lessons for Inclusivity


For the total doctorate awarded in India in 2013, the male-to-female ratio was 63:37. This ratio improved to 57:43 in favour of women in 2021. In absolute terms, the number of women awarded doctorates almost doubled in 2021 compared with 2013. In this study, we examine the progress made by Indian women in doctoral education based on annual reports from the All India Survey on Higher Education. The improved ratios and numbers reflect the adoption of an action-oriented approach in dealing with the concepts of equality and inclusion. The reasons for the progress and ways to improve were investigated based on secondary data and interviews with 15 expert senior female research supervisors. The interviews reveal that apart from the mandatory requirement of a PhD qualification for academic progression, other initiatives have been taken by the Government that have encouraged more women to opt for doctoral education. However, more needs to be done to make research easy for women in India, and such areas, as pointed out by the panel of experts, have been discussed. These findings can be used by other nations that want to bring more inclusivity to doctoral education.


Doctoral Education, Women Researchers, Equality, Inclusivity, Research Scholars, Policy Goals, India



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