It is not fair! Gender discrimination high on Kerala college campuses – The New Indian Express

Express news service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For Jeena S Raj, who stays at her university hostel in Sreekaryam, more than the strict rules of the hostel, what is more worrying is the discrimination she and her fellow hosts face on a daily basis. compared to male college hosts.

“Although I study at a college that supports gender neutrality, it is sad that there are separate rules for women’s and men’s hostels. While male guests are allowed to stay outside until 10 p.m., we have a curfew from 6.30 p.m. If we want to stay outside beyond 6.30 p.m. due to certain emergencies or important reasons, it is mandatory for us to obtain permission from the hostel and other senior college authorities. These restrictions cripple our basic rights and are imposed on us, ”explains the MSW student.

Three years ago, students from two colleges – Sree Kerala Varma College in Thrissur and College of Engineering in Thiruvananthapuram – staged massive protests to demand that the hostel curfew be extended. Based on this, the Kerala High Court issued a ruling in April 2019 ordering colleges to extend the curfew of women’s shelters to a reasonable length of time. Although some colleges have extended the closing time for hostel doors to 9:30 p.m., the rigid curfew continues to plague many students staying at other university hostels in the district.

Expressing his displeasure at a recent incident at his hostel, Gouri S Nath said, “Even our basic right to celebrate on certain occasions has been taken away from us. Recently when the men’s hostel song came to our hostel, the hostel authorities asked us to maintain decorum and not to dance. It affected us emotionally as we are not even allowed to enjoy things like our opposite sex. Not only is the gender disparity, we have rigid rules which include not speaking with friends after 8:30 p.m. and attending prayer without fail.

Students say the restrictions are unreasonable, especially at a time when women enjoy more freedom. “We don’t have the opportunity to voice our concerns and what’s more annoying is how we always have to explain where we are and what we were doing when the authorities question us. We have to go to pray and if we refuse, they complain to our parents. As a result of these situations, many students have already left the home, ”explains K Anakha Soman.

While some teachers disapproved of hostel curfews and the rigid rules implemented only in women’s hostels, others stress that these rules are made for the safety of the students. “The hostels are directly managed by the management of the college and certain rules must be respected. If students can enjoy freedom responsibly, that’s okay. However, we often notice that freedom is misused. There is no restriction for them to go shopping or go out with their friends. But, by 6.30pm, they should reach the hostel, ”said Shirley Stewart, associate professor and assistant principal of Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram.

However, Manoj Onadan, head of the history department at Government Women’s College in Vazhuthacaud, said: “In the university foyer, the curfew was extended until 9:30 pm. However, many other private hostels still have a curfew until 6:30 p.m. This needs to be changed as it shows a gender disparity. Students should have the freedom to have fun with their friends.

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