Soon, school students will have a helpline to report cases of sexual harassment. The Parents Teachers’ Association United Forum plans to start a women’s grievance cell to look into it.
“We discussed the need for a helpline on Tuesday and plan to take it to the education department for implementation,” said Arundhati Chavan, president of the forum. “With the recent cases of violence against women in the city, we decided to take this measure and create awareness among school students,” she said.
With increasing cases of violence against women, schools and educational associations are taking steps in sensitising students on the issue of gender equality and safety of women.
At Hansraj Morarji School in Andheri, students are educated about the need to respect women during the morning assembly. “We try to sensitise boys to fight against harassment of women and treat women as equals,” said principal Anjana Prakash.
Educationists claimed that education can change society’s patriarchal outlook which is leading to cases of violence against women, and added that families needed to be better role models to change the attitude towards women.
“Only education can change this attitude and this can be achieved not through textbooks but through adaptability and understanding,” said Abha Dharam Pal, principal of Utpal Sanghvi School, Juhu. “Parents can be the best role models.”
Educationist Basanti Roy said, “Through education, women learn about their rights and how to fight for them. It is important to sensitise adolescents as that will have a bigger impact on their mindset.” Roy said parents needed to be involved too. “They should be oriented through parent-teacher meetings to create an environment of gender equality in their homes,” said Roy. “It is also important that families, media and society project the right picture."