End Discrimination Against Women in Universities: Urging HRD and NCW to Intervene

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I am writing this petition to bring to your notice the unconstitutional discrimination against women that is religiously being carried out every day in almost every university in this country. As a victim of the same, I can understand the way it is hurting my dignity and confidence and at the same time hindering my growth as an individual.

 Hostel curfew is one of the many rules that are imposed on female students of this country in the name of security.  All the girls’ hostels in my university get locked sharp at 8pm. On entering the gate beyond the mentioned time makes me answerable to several people who get the liberty to judge my character. Boys’ hostels, on the contrary, have no such lockups and they are not questioned even if they don’t show up all night. Is this fair? How can you expect a positive change in the mindsets of people if you keep teaching young students that judging a woman is that easy, and if she is late she must have been upto something questionable.

In two years of my university education, I have witnessed a lot of incidents where female students have had to compromise on their opportunities due to these overly restrictive sexist rules.  Missing out on extra-curricular activities and campus events has become so common that they are not even counted anymore. Hostel curfew restricts women from using the university library, studios, labs, extra-curricular clubs, etc. Since it only allows a few hours of interaction after classes, students find it difficult to work on projects that requires them to work in groups. Either they compromise on their work or form groups in their own gender which goes against the spirit of co-education. People are reluctant to choose a woman to represent their college because seeking numerous permissions for stepping outside the campus is unaffordable. Isn’t this a blatant violation of the Right to Equality? Getting equal educational opportunity should not be confined to the construction of Co-educational Institutions. In fact, the real challenge lies in getting equal access to the libraries, studios and classrooms of those institutions and the fact that academic opportunities are made available to me on the basis of my aptitude and not restricted due to my gender.

These rules are creating a mental block. They have affected my mind in such a way that I abstain from going out after eight even when I am home. I’m constantly being taught that the only way I can deal with this world is by locking myself inside and being fearful of it. This brings down my confidence and makes me feel weak.

 If there is no difference in the fee structure then why is there a difference in the opportunities given. The rules and regulations concerning students’ safety should not be a skewed concept. They should be equally applicable to both men and women. Universities should be working upon improving themselves rather than going for the convenient option of barring women.

Ironically as much as women’s safety is a big concern for them there are more anti ragging groups and committees to be found in any university than anti molestation ones. Let me explain why. The solution against ragging is punishment. These sadistic youngsters can be dealt with through punishments (I do not demean the act of ragging but simply seek to explain the idea behind why it happens). However, the idea of formation of anti molestation and discrimination committees has dual concepts attached to it. They firstly involve aspects of psychology of both men and women which includes making men realise that women are no less than them simply because of their gender and making women realise they have rights and responsibilities which they need to fight for and understand. This further branches into the age old discussion of the position of women in society.  And let’s face it, why would we as a society, who comfortably munch upon the idea that a woman is settled only when she is married, will want to make any effort to get up and reverse our diet?

 Every university in my opinion should have an anti molestation and discrimination department which will solely deal with the issues mentioned in my petition. It is also vital that it be comprised of not just the faculty members but also students as it is their spirit which will keep these committees vigilant and honest.

 Gender based discrimination is a serious issue and it should certainly not happen inside an institution. The fields of Architecture, Engineering, Hospitality, Journalism, etc. require women to work beyond their ‘time limits’. No person can be half an architect or half a doctor. Do we expect women in all these fields to compromise on their learning, their avenues and their overall personality development only because the system cannot ensure their safety? Shouldn’t these institutes be obligated to ensure that every single student gets a conducive environment in order for them to blossom into the individual this society will ultimately depend upon? With the death of an opportunity there’s a death of a dream. Killing of dreams is killing of souls. I should not be deprived of anything because I was born a daughter.

 Thomas Alva Edison once said “There is no substitute for Hard Work”. There are also no substitutes for my dreams, my opportunities, my talent, my time and my right to ensure that I get the right guidance to develop my skills. Unless I am in competition with The talent and not The gender I believe I will not be able to evolve into the person I believe I can be. Not every university has a student body strong enough to oppose these rules or to bring about a change. It is therefore the imperative responsibility of the State to ensure its Youth progresses irrespective of its gender.

In the face of injustice we can either choose to be a spectator or choose to speak. I choose to Speak.



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