Performance of Women Candidates in the UPSC Civil Services Exam

“A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her.”

In the UPSC notification 2017, there is a small but significant footnote. It says, “Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.” The number of women IAS officers in the country is not something to boast of. There is only one woman officer for every 20 men officers. However, the number is steadily increasing as the years advance. It is in this context that the government’s push to women candidates to apply is significant. This increase in the numbers is evident in the number of women who take the UPSC civil services every year. This article discusses the performance of women candidates in the IAS exams.

First of all, let us take a look at the statistics. The following table reveals the number of women candidates who have taken the UPSC mains and attended the IAS interview and the number of candidates who were successful in one decade.

Year

No. of women candidates who appeared for Mains

No. of women candidates who took Interview

Candidates recommended

2001

455

179

88

2002

228

89

59

2003

489

167

81

2004

444

156

72

2005

450

173

94

2006

669

195

101

2007

894

306

143

2008

1185

344

166

2009

1286

422

195

2010

1418

449

203

 

As you can see the absolute number of women attempting and clearing the civil services exam is on the rise.

There are many inspiring success stories of women who have made it to the civil services in India. Some women are lucky in that they have a supportive family who encourages them to pursue their dreams and break conventions. But there are a lot of women who have had to break norms in stepping out of their homes to pursue their goal relentlessly. Read the story of Vandana Chauhan who bagged an impressive all India rank of 8 in the UPSC CSE 2012 from the table below.

The UPSC result of 2015 was eventful as far as women empowerment is concerned. The first four ranks went to women. Ranks 1, 2, 3 and 4 were bagged by Ira Singhal, Renu Raj, Nidhi Gupta and Vandana Rao respectively. Even the topper last year in 2016 was a woman, Tina Dabi. Today, women feature regularly in the toppers list of the USPC civil services exam every year.

It is important to have a balanced workforce for the country to progress and for development to mean something to every citizen of the country. If women constitute 50% of the population they should constitute a good number in the country’s civil services also. True development can ensue only if gender equality is achieved in every aspect of life.

 

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