Women in post-pandemic times are learning at a higher pace than the pre-pandemic times, as they represent 44 percent of new learners in 2021, compared to 37 per cent in 2019. An Ed-tech startup named Coursera published a 'Women and Skills Report' which compared pre-pandemic enrolment and performance trends with the rates on the platform after the second wave peaked. India ranked second globally, with more than 4.8 million registered women learners. The Gender Gap report revealed by the World Economic Forum showed that the pandemic had had adverse effects on the condition of women.
Increased Enrollment Ratio
India ranked 20 slots lower than its position in 2020. The reasons contributing to the widening gap included reduced women participation in the labour force at 22.3 per cent, inadequate women representation in technology and leadership and the devastating male to female literacy ratio. However, despite challenging market conditions, women increased their enrollment ratio on Coursera during the pandemic. The Indian Express quoted Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda, "Our research suggests that gender gaps in online learning narrowed during the pandemic, even as gender employment gaps widened".
Women Enrollment Increased By 10%
Maggioncalda further added that women are embracing online learning to develop their skills is an encouraging move. It would also enable them to accelerate their return to work and promote economic stability. Over, India now boasts 38 per cent of total women learners, compared to 24 per cent in 2016. The median age of women learners is 27 years in India compared to the global average of 31 years. The enrolment rate for women in Coursera increased 10 per cent from 26 per cent in 2019 to 36 per cent in 2021.
Skills like computer programming, machine learning, probability and statistics and theoretical computer science are amongst the most preferred skills. Moreover, Indian women have weaponised mobile devices for learning. Nearly 62 per cent of women learners in India access their study material and courses through a mobile device.