Women Researchers in India Will Increase with Time: Prof. Yamini Agarwal

Prof. Yamini Agarwal, Director - Institute of Management and Research

While appreciating the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for its emphasis on Development Goals, Prof. Yamini Agarwal, Director of the Institute of Management and Research at New Delhi’s Bharati Vidyapeeth, shares her thoughts on women’s education in India with Education Post’s Tanay Kumar.

QuestionBeing a Research Scholar of Finance from IIT Delhi, how do you see the ratio of females as compared to males in research of finance and technology?

When it comes to core technology research, surely the ratio of male participation is higher than female one but it’s not nil or zero, of course, the ratio is lesser. When it comes to finance subject, thankfully, many female research scholars and leaders have emerged in recent times. The number of women researchers will also increase in the coming time as women are trying to go deeper into the financial subjects.

Undoubtedly, there was more male participation in the past century. Besides, since many financial jobs were dominantly male and male-network oriented as well, which somehow put women in hesitance for financial study. But, even following many social obligations and duties, females used to manage the house with the house income and they still do at large in our society, which is also commendable.


In one of your articles, you cited UN MDGs for determining the achievable goals through systematic and logical goal setting for any country. How could those goals be infused in Indian academics, for theory and application both?

Millennium Development Goals are really essential to become more sustainable in future as intergenerational resources depend on it. One of the key developments in this regard is the New Education Policy. The NEP says that one shouldn’t take just one course and get stuck with it and cumulatively it talks about the multidisciplinary method of study. The multidisciplinary method of study, multiple-entry and multiple-exit are some methods that the NEP possesses which inspire us to teach in those methods that MDGs emphasizes.

Let’s understand it via one example – the NEP emphasizes on teaching in local language for empowerment, which is also one of the goals of sustainable development, which is the second goal of MDG – achieving universal primary education. Digitization has further enabled the governments so that they can approach the vulnerable population in systematic methods. Moreover, emphasis on environmental protection in the NEP is another thing which inspires schools to inculcate in a manner to achieve the sustainable development goals.


Study of management has different branches. According to you, what are the old practices in this study that are no longer required as per future point of view?

If you look at the old means of teaching adopted for a long time, used to be in a kind of monolog. Teacher would come, give his/her lecture and would leave with giving assignments and home works before.

Now, students’ participation with teacher is strengthening in the 21st century. Today, teachers also learn from students. Now teachers also emphasize on “how would one understand something or what are the probable outcomes” along with “what does one understand of something?” So, the old idea of monolog has been gradually on decline and a more participatory approach has acquired this place. “What is the definition” has been added with “what is its application” as well.


How does pursuing research, especially one in finance, differ from working at any financial firm and why should students go for research in it?

Research in finance enables one to understand the different paradigm in this study that have happened in different decades, whether it is investment, corporate or public finance or any other branch of this study.

Research in this study lets one to understand on numerous case studies. For example, why one business person becomes a billionaire while another business person went bankrupt or why over generations the same set of techniques don’t work, etc. So, this entire sphere can be discovered in proper research.

On the other hands, when it comes to working at any financial firm, organizations seek people with particular skills which align with their requirements. So, when someone works at any firm, she/he becomes skilled in those specific requirements.


Since your Ph.D. days, you have been closely associated with some prestigious institutes in three countries – Sweden, China, and the USA. What differences do you find in their pedagogical methods when compared to India?

I have seen that there is a complete change in terms of how the delivery of the education takes place in these countries, especially in terms of higher education levels. Most of the education delivery in the US is students driven and also industry driven as well. For example – for MBA programs, they would invite industry people and would make the interaction as the learning process. Also, there is lesser importance given to the deliveries of technical terms, but the application-orientation of the technical terms or the usage of those terms is in more importance.

When I was in Sweden, the teachers and the trainers used to explain the concept and then they asked us whether how we would imply in our firm. Teams used to be formed and many times a team-leader is chosen by the teammates. For example, rather than just teaching about ‘leadership’ concept, teacher developed teams among the students and leaders came up during the applications of those concepts. One person might have a participative form of leadership while another could have a dominant form.

Plus, research and market-driven courses are another differentiation that I felt in their study methods. Strong and ample of research keeps their pedagogy in parallel with the contemporary world. Coming to market, many students pick some courses in their studies by themselves, may be on the basis of market and demand.


In one program on women’s employment, you suggested introducing educational workshops at various levels, even in RWAs (Residential Welfare Association). How and at what levels India can enhance its women’s employment participation?

Unfortunately, many women in India don’t participate in many public discourses and decisions until they are compelled or feel helpless to do so. For example – a woman of the house might avert to buy a land by herself, guiding to build a house while standing on the ground, the paperwork involved in these activities, taxations involved, etc.

Education and digitization can only be the solutions in this regard. Thanks to the digitization that education at a rapid scale can be achieved as well. Moreover, educating the women can empower them so that they participate to deal with several matters by themselves.

The places like RWAs and other local associations of women provide a sense of ‘familiarity’ to women and thus empowering and encouraging these small groups can really increase their participation in crucial decisions. Plus, since the past decade many men have also come in support of women and their vital issues like menstruation, women’s health, nutrition and, of course, education.


What are the challenges ahead before the study of management and finance?

To say about change, a lot of focus has become on the ‘human capital’. For example, people used to consider only plants and machinery as the ‘business capital.’ But today, there is an emphasis on the human resource development. Plus, organizations with better research can really leap forward when changes occur in any industry.

Artificial Intelligence has been changing many industries. Whether it is any industry, this technology is here to stay and change it and evolution with this technology is the biggest challenge for almost every stream of study. It also has a calibre to change the consumer behaviour as well.


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