Girls relegated to smaller posts in students’ council
While Panjab University (PU) has over 70% female students, only a handful of women candidates are actively involved in contesting its student elections.chandigarh Updated: Aug 22, 2015 10:33 IST
While Panjab University (PU) has over 70% female students, only a handful of women candidates are actively involved in contesting its student elections.
NEVER BEEN A GIRL PRESIDENT
A girl has never won the president’s post in the history of the university elections. While the city boasts of women security personnel, women cab drivers, police officials and even a woman MP, the student population of PU is yet to get inspired.
Pretty faces speckle the varsity’s topography wooing vote banks and assisting party leaders by making posters. If this can lure votes, then why can’t ensuring higher participation of women lead to the election of female candidates?
For Gurvir Kaur, vice-president of the National Student Union of India (NSUI) panel (NSUI+NSU+HSA+HPSU) it was a genuine drive to work for student welfare which made her join the party. “I believe more than a girl or a boy thing, it is a matter of interest. I want to ensure transparency in the system and that is why I am contesting. I would have done so even if I were a boy,” said Kaur. “I convinced my parents who were sceptical of me standing, ”she added.
PRESSURE FROM PARENTS
Pressure from folks is considered to be a major hindrance. “Unfortunately, the atmosphere at home is such that parents don’t encourage their daughters to get into politics because they fear that they will get influenced by the unethical practices that takes place during the polls ,”said Arsh Preet from the Student Organisation of India (SOI).
The joint secretary of the SOI panel (SOI+INSO+ NSO+HIMSU), Swati Tiwana, who is the youngest woman candidate to fight the election this year, said it was the limited representation of women which made her want to contest. “I want to change the presumption that women can’t handle crisis. Instead I feel, they work harder than men during poll time,” she said. “This is why I don’t feel the need to wear traditional suits to campaign. Let your work speak, even if you wear shorts or jeans and campaign, that’s what women should be known for,” she added.
The party is the first one ever to have introduced an allgirls panel. “We want to break stereotypes. Today SOI has a female joint-secretary and vice-president. One day we will contest for the presidential post as well,” said SOI’s vice-presidential candidate Preeti Negi.
Negi also mentioned that a part of her decision was inspired by the previous vice-president of PUSC, Snigda Bawa, who had conducted workshops to uplift the status of women. Talking to HT, Bawa said, “I cannot deny that girls themselves are reluctant to take active interest during polls, but on the other hand, we did try and encourage more girls to come forward and we can see the results.”
‘IMPORTANT TO START EARLY’
Anjali Thakur, the vice-president candidate of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad-Punjab University Student’s Union (ABVP-PUSU) alliance, from the physical education department, felt it was important to begin early. “I might be in my first year but that’s why I’ll be able to make my presence felt and gradually understand what is required to get to the level of the president. Everything takes time,” said Thakur who is keen to work towards banning the entry of outsiders on the campus as that, in her opinion, leads to the maximum cases of eve-teasing which in turn causes fear among women.