National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma Tuesday advocated reservation for girls in colleges as a means to increase enrolment. She also said the government should give “incentives” to girls enrolled in higher education institutions (HEIs).
Sharma was speaking at a webinar organised by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), titled ‘Addressing Gender Issues in Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs): Challenges and Perspectives’.
The invite of the webinar cited “article 3(h) of the 2013 sexual harassment of women at workplace act” as stating that “Any existing body functioning with the same objective like the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) should be reconstituted as the ICC”. However, the Act does not mention either ‘article 3 (h)’ or its content as stated in the invitation.
In the webinar, Sharma said there was a conventional notion that girls should stay at home and do household work and look after the family, and that were was a need to change this attitude.
“After Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, we saw that most girls are going to school and doing wonderfully well, whether it’s in pass percentage or becoming toppers. But what happens when it comes to higher education? We as a society need to think and change our mindset,” she said.
“There is a need to give incentive to girls in higher educational institutions. When there is reservation of all kinds, why not for girls in colleges? That will certainly make a difference. The Centre should think about it,” she added.
Speaking about the issue of sexual harassment, Sharma said information on ICC and its members should be available to all and pasted on all noticeboards. “Sometimes it happens that there is a complaint against a senior faculty and there is pressure on the ICCs; they can’t do their job. Women have to knock doors of the court then,” she said.
Also speaking at the webinar was AIIMS doctor K P Kochhar, who said there were “deep rooted biases” with respect to gender that needed to be “reviewed”. While arguing that women should be encouraged to report cases of sexual harassment, Kochhar said, “But we also need to see the other side. All males are not bad, and all females are not good… Women who file false cases should not do so. It’s a moral sin. Real cases get coloured by it.”
Kochhar also said ICC “should not only be women centric but whosoever is harassed” irrespective of gender.
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