Aspirants who have cleared the Joint Entrance Exam (Advanced) can now log on to a special web portal launched to help women get through the IIT admission process. The web portal, launched earlier this week, is aimed at improving the gender ratio at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

Currently, women make up only 8 percent of the total population at IITs. The portal was launched as a measure to achieve the target of increasing the ratio to 20% by 2020. The JEE Council has observed that of the total women who cleared the JEE (Advanced) last year, only 38 percent actually accepted a seat, pointing to a gap in the counselling process. The council figured that the ratio was skewed as women had opted for limited choices during the counselling and parents, often worried for their daughter’s safety, were reluctant to seek admission in colleges far from home.

It was to bridge this gap that web portal — students.iitmandi.ac.in was launched. The helpdesk was set up by IIT, Mandi, and is operated by more than 100 women faculty, students and alumni. Read | IIM Bangalore PGP 2017 begins, 80% batch has work experience, click here

It helps candidates get in touch with women faculty members and students at each IIT, and also guides them through the process of selecting the ideal IIT for them. Timothy A Gonsalves, director of IIT Mandi, has written a letter to all women candidates who have cleared JEE (Advanced), congratulating them and informing them of the portal. IIT Delhi, too, will host an Open House exclusively for women candidates on Saturday.

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