Exorbitant fees, time restrictions and no accommodation during summer vacations are just some of the challenges women students putting up at college hostels in the Capital face.
Most of these restrictions are not imposed on male students of the varsities.
Delhi University’s Hindu College recently announced that it would not be admitting students in the newly constructed girl’s hostel in this academic session after students protested against the high fees and discriminatory hostel rules.
Most hostels across universities, including DU, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), and Indraprastha University have deadlines for female students ranging from 7pm to 10 pm.
At Rajiv Gandhi Hostel for Girls (RGHG) female students have to be back by 10 pm while their male counterparts from Jubilee Hall hostel have no deadline.
At Sri Ram College for Commerce (SRCC) male students can return to the hostel by 10.30 pm while female students have to be back by 8 pm.
“It is not just about a few hours of difference. We cannot sit till late in the library, cannot enroll for special evening courses as we have to be back by 8 or 9 pm. This restricts the choices we have for overall development. I left because of this,” said Radha, who left Ramjas hostel after staying there for two years.
At IP University hostels, male students have a deadline of 11:00 pm and entry after that is allowed with the permission of the warden. But female students have a deadline of 8:00 pm.
DU officials said that rules are formulated by individual hostels as they have their own governing bodies.
According to a study, last year, women students pay an average of Rs 2,958 more than men for undergraduate hostels every month and Rs 2,614 more for postgraduate hostels in DU.
The study — conducted by Pinjra Toda, a group running a campaign against ‘discriminatory hostel rules’ — found that while female students paid a monthly average of Rs 8,083 for UG hostels, male students paid just Rs 5,125 per month.
“It becomes difficult for women to pursue higher education if we have to pay such exorbitant fees,” said a Pinjra Tod activist.
Hostels for postgraduate male students allow them to stay in hostels during summer vacations but the same is not allowed for women. “We can stay in hostels by paying special rates but girls are not allowed this facility. We also don’t have any deadlines for coming back,” said Chirag, who stays at the Jubilee Hall hostel.
Recently, students from RGHG protested against the rule after which they were allowed to stay during two months of summer vacations. “Many of us could not join special courses or take up internships because we had to vacate the hostels,” said Harleen, who stays at RGHG.
Most women’s hostels allow students to take 2-4 night outs –permission to stay out till 10 pm or 11pm. At JMI, if women students have to stay out late, this is allowed only twice a month.
“The curfew of 10 pm is only for women, where we are physically locked inside our block. We are not even allowed to roam around on campus. We have a system of night outs but these rules are not applicable for boys,” said Monica Thomas, a student of St. Stephen’s College.
JMI officials said that certain rules for women students have to be in place due to the isolated location of the women’s hostel complex.