When creating his matrimonial profile on IITIIMShaadi.com, a male engineer can pick his alma mater from the 14 Indian institutions listed on the site. A female engineer’s options surpass 100. In the management field, male graduates from only 22 b-schools can sign up; for women, there are over 250. A male medical professional must be from one of the two-dozen approved colleges, whereas his female counterpart has 75 choices.
IITIIMShaadi.com is an arranged marriage matchmaking site that aims to bring together individuals from “premier institutes”—the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), among others.
It has “marginally relaxed” rules for females to account for the fact that most premier colleges in the country have skewed gender ratios.
The disparity is glaring in tech: Only two in 10 first-year undergrad students at top engineering colleges, including the IITs of Delhi, Hyderabad, Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, and Roorkee, and the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Jalandhar, are women.
Management colleges don’t fare any better. They enrol the highest proportion of male students—4 in 5—in the world.
The discrepancy in the medical field, though, makes less sense because the two sexes are far more balanced. At the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), there are 58 males for every 42 females. Nationally, females outpace males on this front.
In any case, under this cosmetic “gender sensitivity,” the portal’s elitism is cringeworthy.
IITIIMShaadi.com’s elitist matchmaking
The site sparked considerable buzz over the past week after director Karan Johar endorsed it.
In the video he shared on Instagram on Mar. 31, Bollywood’s biggest filmmaker can be heard saying that highly educated people look beyond caste and creed to find “mental capability.”
The flawed assumption that mental prowess is directly related to college education—or that the highly educated are beyond caste and creed—has irked people. Several commentators pointed out that the criteria is regressive and offensive, and the endorsement by Johar, who has 11.7 million followers on the platform, isn’t helping.
Besides judging pedigree, the platform also subtly discriminates against people who don’t fit the traditional doctor-lawyer-engineer mould. Less conventional professions have drastically fewer colleges listed.
For instance, performing arts has fewer than 10 colleges listed and hotel management has around five. A media communication professional can only register if they have a master’s degree.