Shreeja Datta (16) was never intimidated by the unfavourable statistics for girls at the IITs, something she says possibly inhibits many of her peers from applying.
“So many girls appear for the AIEEE and the MHCET. So it’s strange that they don’t sit for the JEE. It’s probably because girls have this mindset that the JEE is too tough to crack,” said Datta. “Or maybe they’re intimidated by the statistics.”
Clocking in at rank 984 when the results came out on Wednesday, Datta said her gender never came into the picture during her preparations. “There’s just this aura about the JEE that more boys can crack it,” she said.
Datta first decided to pursue engineering in Class 9, based on her parents’ suggestion that she consider the JEE. “There’s this traditional thought that girls shouldn’t do engineering, but every year more of them are trying, so that’s good,” she said.
While being a girl never affected the way she prepared for the exam, she said girls may generally be more relaxed about the process. “Maybe there’s more pressure on boys to become engineers than there is on girls,” she said. “They feel they have to get in no matter what. But for girls, it’s more like if we get in, it’s good, if we don’t, that’s ok too.”
In the run-up to her preparations, relatives sometimes told Datta she should opt for civil engineering. “Because it’s more design-oriented, people think it’ll be easier for girls to do,” she said. Datta, however, plans to opt for either mechanical or electrical at IIT Kharagpur.