P Ellilarasi from Theni, was one of the many students at the counselling centre in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) on Saturday, hoping to join the B Sc Horticulture course at the university. "I decided to join the course after hearing about it from my friends. My parents are also happy about my decision," she said. Seventy per cent of new admissions at TNAU are women.
In recent years, the number of women joining the institute has been on the rise. K Ramasamy, VC of the university, says that in 1972 only one girl student was admitted. "Earlier, women did not opt to join the university because agriculture involved strenuous manual labour. With the increasing use of machinery in agriculture, more women started joining the university," he said. Today, a majority of students at TNAU are women.
Among the 1018 students who got admission on Saturday, 699 are women. Ramasamy said that since women seem to do much better then men, more women are given admission. He believes that the proportion of women to men will only increase in the coming years.
Most students who join agricultural courses are well-focussed. "Though there are a few who may need our guidance, most students who come for counselling are clear about their career options," said S Mahimairaja Dean of Agriculture.
Many women take up jobs in firms related to agriculture. M Yashodhai, who completed her B Tech from the university in 2012 and is currently pursuing an MBA in Chennai said that most of her friends have been placed.
Mahimairaja says that most women opt for jobs in banking and government sector. A substantial number of women also pursue higher studies. There are many who take up research and teaching. Agricultural courses also offer several career opportunities, he added.
Ramasamy said there is a growing number of women who want to pursue the civil services. "In recent years, an increasing number of women have been appearing for the civil services exam. A growing number of women from the university are also becoming customs officials," he said.