Gender equality, women’s safety go hand in hand : The Tribune India

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Open House entry in mobility register by women hostellers

Gender equality, women’s safety go hand in hand

There is no doubt that same rules and regulations regarding movement and late night-out timing restrictions should be applicable on both boys and girls residing in Panjab University (PU) hostels.

Gender equality, women’s safety go hand in hand

For going out of the hostel after 10 pm, hostellers are required to mark the mobility register. Defaulters are to be expelled after a warning.

There is no doubt that same rules and regulations regarding movement and late night-out timing restrictions should be applicable on both boys and girls residing in Panjab University (PU) hostels. However, there have to be some stricter restrictions on opening hours of girls’ hostels on the PU campus. This is mainly because if girls are allowed to move out of hostels at any time their safety and security is put at risk. And if any thing wrong happens to any student, her parents will blame the university/hostel authorities and not their daughter. Its duty of the authorities concerned to ensure safety and security of girls residing in hostels. Kanu Priya, the PU students’ council president, being a woman herself, must understand the situation. She should not encourage women to go out of hostels during the late night hours keeping in view the increasing incidents of stalking and eve-teasing in the city.

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali 

PU Syndicate’s decision draconian

The Panjab University Syndicate’s decision to expel those residing in girls’ hostels if they don’t sign the mobility register is discriminatory, illogical, unwarranted and biased. Discipline, rules and regulations only see offenders and not gender. Why girls staying in hostels are singled out? Why same conditions are not applicable to boys staying in varsity hostels? If at all the university Syndicate wants to impose this condition to bring students into discipline than the same yardstick should be applied to boys staying in hostels. Students repeating such offense should be expelled. The university hostels are best hideouts of youth, especially, during students’ union elections. Weapons, including swords, baseball bats and rods have been recovered from boys’ hostels in the past. Rules should be equal for all irrespective of the gender. The Syndicates’ decision is draconian, unwise and an insult to women’s equal rights,  privileges and against natural justice. The Syndicate must roll back its decision. When India is on the threshold of becoming a super power, is such orthodox thinking about female students of this university acceptable? It is totally unethical.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (retd), Mohali

Equality must, but don’t neglect security

After 48 days protest by students the Panjab University Syndicate lifted restrictions on the entry of girls’ hostel inmates in December last  year. All kinds of fines for late entry were abolished.  The PU Syndicate once again gave nod to nine-member panel recommendation to mark entry in the mobility register in order to solve problems faced by wardens of girls’ hostels last month. Signing mobility register does not curtail girls’ freedom nor does it infringe gender equality. Rather, it’s just to keep seniors informed about students movement during late night hours. Girls must understand that it is the university authorities and wardens of the hostels concerned, who will be anserable in case of any mishap. —    HS gill, Chandigarh

Rules should be the same

Rules made by the Panjab University Syndicate should be applicable to all students, including boys and girls. Students should not be divided on the basis of gender. The rules should be same for all. The university should not discriminate between students. The rule of expelling hostellers for not signing the attendance register three times in a row should be implemented in girls’ and boys’ hostels.

S Gulati, Chandigarh

Different rules not acceptable

It is really surprising and shameful that in this 21st century when we fight for equal rights for both men and women, the Panjab University Syndicate is forcing different rules on girls residing in hostels whereas boys go scot free. Why restrict girls and not boys? The PU Syndicate should immediately withdraw these restrictions on girls or impose them on boys too. Students studying in postgraduate institutes are mature enough to look after themselves. 

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh 

Don’t make such rules

The main aim of university is to impart higher education in order to make students able to think and realise themselves what is good and what is bad for them. The university should not make such hostel rules for girls or for boys.                                                                          

Sohan Lal Gupta, Patiala

Over vigilance is not the answer

The PU Syndicate’s approval of guidelines for residents of girls’ hostel seems a step backwards. While one may argue that the hostel wardens’ responsibility and accountability towards the university and girls’ parents and the new set of rules give them powers. It must not be forgotten that the place in question is not a school where the tender teenagers must reside and their activities be monitored by elders. Students get first introduction to adulthood at colleges and universities. Gender specific restrictions at this stage could imbibe a sense of frustration, annoyance and helplessness. It seems to reinforce the idea of patriarchal and female subjugated society. It implies protection of women from bound to happen and uncontrolled violence and harassment, which in reality is a law and order problem. Guaranteeing freedom of women with over vigilance is not the answer to a situation. Deterrence of crime, clipping law and order lapses and sensitisation on campus in particular and society in general should be done. Gender selective rules should not be implemented.

Surbhi Sharma, Chandigarh

Rules meant to be obeyed

Whatever the Panjab University Syndicate has okayed is for the benefits of girl students. Girls should understand that the rules and regulations are made for obeying. When they are in hostel it is the duty of wardens to take care of girls like their parents. Otherwise everyone knows the difference between PGs and hostels. Same rules should be there for boys because hostel is after all hostel, which has to be closed at proper time. Students come to education institutions to study and make careers. Going against the rules sometimes leads to bad consequences, which are difficult to change. 

Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh

Implement new varsity guidelines with consent

 There is a need to maintain gender equality in all walks of life. The change in the procedure of hostel attendance and entry on the register for outings started by Panjab University in girls’ hostels is contrary to equality as the same is not being followed in boys’ hostels. If restrictions and the standard operating procedure has been made for the safety and security of girls staying in hostels then it can be discussed with occupants. Hostel is considered second home away from home. Hostel wardens and the authorities act as guardians and well wishers of the occupants. A decision without consent of hostel occupants cannot be imposed on them. It can be implemented with agreement after discussion on the expected good and bad outcome. Girls these days are independent to take their own decisions, but society has not changed as per their expectations. There are bad elements in society, which some times take advantage of such situations.

Wg Cdr JasbirMinhas (retd), Mohali

Equality for boys, girls in hostel rules

Decision to allow 24x7 entry to girls in hostels followed by other restrictions at Panjab University has unfortunately taken another turn. It has touched a very pressing issue of equality for males and females. After the decision of full-time entry for girls, many other rules were also enforced by the PU authorities citing safety and security of girls on the campus as well as in and around hostels. It has indeed stirred hornet’s nest because situation has come to such a point that now the PU authorities also have to take a balancing stand on the rules related to boys’ and girls’ hostels. In our present society, male-female equality is indeed a contentious and relevant issue, when both can work equally and earn for their families. Nevertheless, ours is a male dominant society. When it comes to granting equal opportunities, rights to our daughters, sisters and women friends we often feel miserable. However, as far as Panjab University is concerned, it is the moral responsibility and should be a foremost priority of the varsity authorities to implement same rules for occupants of the boys’ and girls’ hostels. But it is a reality that women in our society are highly vulnerable and prone to exploitation and harassment. Therefore, if some rules are implemented for the sake of safety and security of girl students, we should not stand against it. It is the duty of the authorities and the PU administration to maintain a fearless and academic-oriented environment for girls. Students, either male or female, should co-operate with the authorities for a better and safer campus.

Dr Karan Singh Vinayak, Chandigarh

No discrimination on gender basis

I fail to understand why there should be any discrimination between girls’ and boys’ hostels? Anybody who does not sign attendance or mobility registers must be expelled. A three-time offenders’ criterion must be followed before expelling anyone. Safety and honour of girls’ hostels must be taken into account. New rules or guidelines as passed by the Panjab University Syndicate must be applicable equally and there should be no bias of any kind between girls’ or boys’ hostels on the Panjab University campus.

Tarlok Singh, Mani Majra

It points towards male chauvinism

The new guidelines making it compulsory for girls to sign attendance and mobility registers whereas the same does not apply to boys is an example of male chauvinism. Still ours is a male-dominated country. We talk big about equal rights for women. Unfortunately, those very institutions, which are considered the voice of women, are trying to suppress these rights. What are we teaching our young generation? There is a need to sensitise youth regarding gender equality whereas such rules go against women. So, the need of the hour is to grant equal rights to both the sexes and not to discriminate. Let women also realise that they are free beings. On the contrary some strict rules should be framed so as to safeguard the dignity of women in educational institutions.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Chandigarh

Gender shouldn’t be taken into account

Universities are place of teaching. These days besides education students are taught that girls are in no way behind boys and they should never consider themselves a weaker section. Girls are given equal rights, freedom and right to education, then why partiality in observing hostel timings? It is for the university authorities to take a decision as to what hostel timings would be observed taking into consideration all-round safety of students either boys or girls, but it should be the same for both.

Balbir Singh Batra, Chandigarh

Don’t give up mobility register

On the plank of gender equality and under the pressure of the PU students’ union with massive support of girls’ hostellers, the Panjab University authorities succumbed to the pressure of agitating students and modified the age-old girls’ hostel rules thus bringing most of the terms at par with boys’ hostels in 2018. However, according to a specific clause maintained girls venturing out of hostel must sign the attendance-cum-mobility register, which is not applicable for boys’ hostels. Women hostellers are now up to defying this rule as it discriminates with regulations applicable for boys’ hostels. The dean of students must have a counselling session with parents and their daughters living in hostels to emphasise that for certain sensitive issues like safety and security no parallel should be drawn with rules applicable to boys’ hostels. It must also be realised by female hostellers that the university authorities are answerable to their parents and guardians for any untoward incident. Certainly, girl students must fight for the gender equality in the field of studies, debates, sport and other academic curriculum or activities and must withdraw their demand to scrap the attendance-cum-mobility register, a requirement totally in the interest of girl hostellers. 

SS Arora, Mohali 

Form panel to resolve issue

The Panjab University Syndicate should constitute a seven member committee comprising students, hostel wardens and senior teachers, who should ascertain data on the working of girls’ hostels in educational, medical and other professional institutions in the country. The committee may emulate the best model that suits them with minor modifications if need be.

Harish Kapur, Chandigarh

Attendance, mobility register must

Rules should be the same for boys and girls. In principle, it sounds very good. Then why the authorities do not make same rules for all? In this case university is playing safe. When some incident happens not much hue and cry is raised, but in the case of girls, lots of dust kicks up as many replies are sought from the persons concerned. It means university plays safe in case of girls by showing its concern for their safety. Same rules should be applied to boys’ hostels also to instil discipline and uniformity. This practice is followed in military academies, including the NDA and the IMA, and other training centres.

Bharat Bhushan Sharma, Chandigarh

Equal treatment for boys and girls

The rule applicable to inmates of girls’ hostels making three times offenders liable to be expelled if they don’t sign the attendance and mobility registers should invariably be applicable to boys too. There shouldn’t be any discrimination in any field on the basis of gender as our Constitution gives Right to Equality to all. Moreover, it is in the overall interest of society. It is beyond the understanding of a common man as to why these rules should not be applicable to boys, who are equally prone to bad habits in case no check is kept on them by the authorities. As such the rules must be applicable to both girls and boys from all angles, including moral, legal, academic and prudence. The Panjab University Syndicate should immediately make rules to treat both boys and girls on par in all fields without any discrimination. This will boost the morale of women.

Rajender Kumar Garg, Zirakpur 

Girl students should maintain discipline 

All citizens are equal as per the Indian Constitution. There is no difference between male and female. They have equal fundamental rights. The Syndicate of Panjab University should frame same guidelines for residents of girls’ and boys’ hostels. Our culture has been changing every movement. Everyone likes same rules in each field. The girl students are also responsible at college/university level. There is no harm/loss if girls come in or go out of hostels without signing the attendance register. Girls should maintain hostel discipline and report on time to the warden concerned. A warden can take strict action against defaulters if they break rules and regulations.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

New guidelines are discriminatory

When parameters such as fee structure, hostel room allotment, other charges, syllabus, teaching timings/classes, faculty and examination are almost on the same pattern for both the boys and girls at the university, then there is no logic/justification to adopt different criteria/rules for their stay in Panjab University hostels. The Syndicate’s decision is gender biased and needs to be reconsidered in consultation with girl students to avoid another agitation, which will disturb the hard-earned peaceful atmosphere of the university campus. In the past too, the university authorities had to accept demands when students followed the agitation path.

AS Ahuja, Chandigarh

Gender equality has to be followed

We are an independent nation, where gender equality is enshrined in the Constitution. The PU Syndicate needs to understand this and act accordingly. It cannot create gender inequality. The problem lies with the VC of the institution, whose office has been politicised and his inaction speaks volumes about it. The new guidelines are totally arbitrary. Gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making, and when different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured. It is crystal clear that the Punjab University Syndicate is acting in an arbitrary manner and creating a gender gap between women and men. The new guidelines need to be withdrawn without any delay or demur.

Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur

Safety of girls more important 

It is not a question of gender equality. It is the question of safety of girls residing in hostels of Panjab University. Hence, the guidelines cannot be same for boys’ and girls’ hostels. Rules for girls’ hostels have to be pragmatic and for the good of occupants. There is no point of making an issue of everything concerning girls at the PU. It is more of political incitement. Let’s be normal and natural as we are at home with our children. Hostel warden is no enemy. He/she takes care of interest of girls so that their comfort and safety is ensured. Wouldn’t we do it as parents? So, why this outcry over girls’ freedom? Let’s not debate every small issue concerning students. Let the VC and the PU faculty decide along with students’ representatives. Let’s have a healthy atmosphere on the university campus rather than competitive.

Col RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Inequality in rules justified

The guideline of the Panjab University Syndicate for girls’ hostels, which differs from boys’ hostels, certainly points towards gender inequality. But keeping in view the safety of girl students certain steps are always needed. After all it is the responsibility of university management to maintain peace, security and no disturbance on the campus for smooth working of the institution and in the interest of students. There is no harm to mark attendance for girl students living in hostels as prescribed under rules and award punishment to defaulters on repeating the mistake just to maintain discipline.

JS Jassal, Patiala

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