Gender Sensitization on Sexual Harassment

6 August 2018 Gender Sensitization on Sexual Harassment

Collaborative effort of Department of Commerce and Management and Women’s Studies, Women’s Cell, Gender Club and Population Education Club

Team Armaan has been associated with the University for past four years coming to do session with students about creating awareness towards sexual harassment. Their motto is Respecther, i.e., respect the other. Students of Management studies and Women’s studies participated in the session.

Aprajita from Armaan team

Video as ice breaker

Use Law as a ladder

The session commenced with screening of a very powerful video which talked about assault, harassment and it's reportage. This was followed by a round of questions asked by them, viz, "Have any of you been harassed from verbal to any physical way?" Lots of hands were raised. "Do you think anyone from your family could be a potential rapist?" Only three hands went up. A potential rapist is someone who has the ability to rape someone which starts with ignored sexual harassment.

The speaker then talked about the power of standing up and fighting for your rights. Lastly, few incidents were shared, questions were discussed, some startling facts discovered. The fact that the Shipra Path police officials are willing to set up an office near to the college, they just don't have enough number of complaints to be put down on paper. They said that only two cases have been filed in three years and harassment is a daily issue, they are aware of that. Speed dial numbers were set up, police stations numbers were given, were informed about the statements in IPC against harassment and sexual assault. The session was so interesting that none of the students wished to leave.

The session was not only an awareness session on sexual harassment and available protective legal provisions but it was also an effort to change outlook to overcome fear and shame.

14, 21 and 28 August 2018 Gender Sensitization Sessions

Department of Women’s Studies and Management, and Gender Champion Club

Day 1 Ms. Chanda Asani did sessions with management students for 3 days. First day was introducing students to accepted concepts of beauty as considered in advertisements! The constructions of gender are so strong that the idea of questioning the advertisements of fairness comes as a surprise to the young girls. They slowly acknowledge and accept the created insecurities and discrimination of beauty myths. The appearance involves not just the colour but also how women speak and dress and their education also plays a part in this process of differentiation. The hierarchy inherent in this gendered process is difficult to perceive. The management jobs are paid higher than others, is also part of this system of gendered socialization.

Day 2 Women’s menstrual health was taken up the second day. The purity and impurity notion is a major gender issue which creates young girls to have low self esteem. This is due the fact that menstrual cycle is monthly affair and when girls get initiated to this in their impressionable adolescence. Month after month, year after year the reproductive period coincides with the productive period in women’s life. If menstruation is associated with impurity and women are not allowed to worship then they tend to feel inferior. Knowing that it is the same blood which enhances all humanity is an eye opener and provides space for change. Seeing menstruation as health criteria helps women to respect their bodies and take care of it accordingly.

Day 3 Women’s representation in History was taken to further empowerment of girls. There are hardly any women in mainstream History. This is because there were hardly any queens and History is written about rulers! And the women who are written about in Indian History are mostly from upper caste and upper class can be counted on fingers. This again makes women feel that their work and worth is not good enough to be written about. Rewriting History has been done by Women’s Studies scholars not just from academics of History but also feminist scholars from various other disciplines. This rewriting is making women visible to all. This rewriting also speaks about how women are represented in history as per patriarchal norms. One such example is Taj Mahal a tomb of Mumtaj Mahal, third wife of Shahjahan who died giving birth to her 14th child. History does not mention about Razia Sultan’s tomb, the only queen of Delhi Sultanate, same religion but was given the kingdom in preference of her brothers as she was more capable. If antiquity is concerned as taken with Brahmanical texts considered more valid when older then Razia Sultan should have been more important in representation in History! That would be inspiration to women and men to diminish the gendered socialization.