Besides a higher number of students scoring 95% and above, CBSE results 2018 have brought no surprises:
In standard 12th, girls outperformed boys with a pass percentage of 88.31 against boys’ 78.99%. They clinched six out of nine top slots. Results for class 10th also showed a similar trend.
For quite some time now, girls have outshone boys in the boards and registered their presence in some of the most reputed competitions. UPSC civil services, for instance, has had women toppers for three years in a row now.
Every year, after results of such exams are declared, toppers --many of them women-- become the staple of news. Their study techniques, aims and ambitions, advice for aspirants, everything makes headlines. It is their moment in the sun.
Why then does this number of girl achievers in schools and colleges not correspond with their representation in senior position in offices? Or reflect in the salaries they draw?
The number of women who succeed in making it to the workforce itself is quite abysmal.
It may sound disappointing but the bitter truth is that only a fraction of girls clearing their boards this year would make it to the workforce. Some of them would be forced to prioritise family life over careers. The others may simply be left out because of lack of employment opportunities.
A Catalyst report estimates that women constitute almost half (47%) of India’s graduates, but in entry level jobs their share shrinks to only a quarter (24%).
Is it a smooth ride for the ones who get to join the workforce? There are more disappointments in store.Catalyst data shows that representation of women continue to shrink as we go up the corporate ladder:
Representation of women on managers/directors level shrinks to 21%. It drops to 19%on senior manager level. And shrinks further to 14% on executive level.
It means that most of the women who succeed in joining the workforce remain concentrated in profiles ranked lower in the office hierarchy. The ones not happy with the status quo, have to put up a fierce fight against gender biases to get their due.
Not only this, they get paid lower than their male peers for the same job. This salary gap is a glaring 20%-- the current gender pay gap in India, according to Monster Salary Index, 2018.
So basically, many of the girls stepping out of schools with dreams in their eyes may end up working below their skill level, have to make do with smaller pay packages, and have an unsatisfying career.
They may start their work life with similar career priorities as their male peers, the trajectory of their careers may not really be the same.
Board exams, perhaps, are the only level playing field they’ll get in life.