CAT 2023: Why women have a better chance of getting into IIMs than ever before

IIM CAT 2023 Exam: Six IIMs are attracting more women candidates with admission policies promoting gender diversity. CAT 2023 registration has begun.

CAT 2023: Why women have a better chance of getting into IIMs than ever before IIM CAT 2023 registration is open at; CAT exam date is November 26. (Photo: IIM Ahmedabad)
R. Radhika | Aug 4, 2023 - 12:09 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Data released through public statements and ‘PGP profile’ reports by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) reveals that more women are being admitted to these institutions. In six major IIMs combined, the incoming class of the PGP, the flagship two-year MBA programme, will have more than 40% female students.

In IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Rohtak and IIM Shillong, almost 43% of the PGP batch will comprise women. This is in spite of the Common Admission Test (CAT exam), the IIM entrance exam, which has seen far more men qualify than women.

However, that appears to be changing and mainly due to several IIMs, pioneered by IIM Kozhikode, taking different steps and altering their admissions policies to ensure greater diversity. IIM Kozhikode saw the percentage of women rise to 48% from 46% last year and in two IIMs, women now outnumber men in the PGP classes.

IIM Kozhikode saw the percentage of women rise to 48% from 46% last year and in two IIMs, women now outnumber men in the PGP classes. That said, gender ratios at the top-ranked IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore, are still lopsided. At IIM-A, 23% of the 2023-25 batch comprises women – the same as last year; IIM Bangalore’s batch of 532 is 32% women. At IIM Bangalore, 173 students in a batch of 480 were women, a slight drop from 144 in 2021 with the same batch size.

CAT 2023 registration began on August 2 at; the CAT 2023 last date to apply is September 13; the exam date is November 26.

IIM CAT 2023: Women in MBA

While IIM Kozhikode has championed gender parity and seen year-on-year growth in women’s enrolment, others like IIM Rohtak and IIM Sambalpur saw women outnumbering men. While IIM Rohtak’s 2023-25 batch is 78% female, IIM Sambalpur’s batch is 60% female.

Not far behind, IIM Shillong also saw a significant increase in women’s representation with more than half the class comprising female candidates. The PGP class in IIM Kashipur, a second generation IIM, comprises 24 % women.

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IIM Admission: Women enrolment in MBA, 2023-25



Batch size

IIM Ahmedabad



IIM Bangalore



IIM Kozhikode



IIM Sambalpur



IIM Kashipur



IIM Rohtak



IIM Shillong

51.6 %


Source: IIM PGP batch profile

CAT Examination 2023: IIM eligibility criteria change

According to CAT 2022 statistics, only 35% of the 2.22 lakh candidates who took the IIM CAT exam were women; 65% were men and four candidates identified as transgender. Past data also shows that no woman candidate has bagged the first rank in the last five years. Before this, 2017 was the last year when two female candidates obtained 100 percentile.

To combat the consistent issue of lopsided gender representation, IIMs are also going the extra mile in CAT admissions. Changes in the IIM admission process beyond the IIM CAT exam have led to more being enrolled.

iim cat 2023, cat 2023, mba entrance exam 2023, cat examination 2023, iim cat registration, mba admission 2023, iim kozhikode, CAT 2023: Going beyond the CAT, IIM Kozhikode pioneered affirmative action for women in admissions (Image: IIMK)

For instance, IIM Kozhikode is the first IIM to initiate “affirmative gender action” with 10 points for female candidates at the time of shortlisting. Similarly, IIM Bangalore also offers five points to women candidates in the first phase of MBA admissions.

Meanwhile IIM Kashipur, a B-school, keen on improving gender diversity, reimburses travel to the campus and back for female candidates before registration in addition to six gender diversity points, according to the spokesperson. "Female candidates were encouraged to take admission at IIM Kashipur by providing campus visit facility (with their parents) before taking admission. The institute was facilitating them with to and fro 3AC train fare as well as lodging and boarding," the spokesperson said.

Last year, IIM Calcutta also introduced a gender diversity factor in its admissions policy that allows four additional points to ensure gender diversity after meeting the minimum overall and other academic requirements.

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