This admission season, a loud chant for a gender-specific course reverberated on the Delhi University campus.
DU, to foster the idea of a gender-specific course, has on offer for aspirants — through its Women Studies Development Centre — a short-term certificate course on gender and society, which sensitises students to the status of women in India, subject to class, creed, religion and ethnic divides.
While colleges such as Miranda House, Lady Sri Ram College and Kamla Nehru College have fully functional WSDC societies, only a few colleges such as Jesus and Mary College (JMC), Janki Devi Memorial College and Delhi College of Arts and Commerce (DCAC) offer the course.
“In 2011, 200 students had joined the WSDC. Students from any other programme are welcome to join in because it is a one-of-a-kind gender studies course,” said Amita Tiwari, associate professor, JMC. At the same time, prospects for students who pursue this course remain bright since there are several opportunities in fields such as social work. Jobs are available also at international organisations that require trained students in this area and other non-governmental organisations in the country.
“Most colleges run this as a self-financing course, which means that students who opt for it have to pay nominal fees (which vary among colleges). But for JMC students, the course is free. The course also helps students venture into fields such as getting a Master’s degree in social work and NGO-related activities in the later stages of their careers,” said Tiwari.
The course is six months long and comprises 30% lectures. The remainder is usually seminars, competitions and workshops on gender specific issues — all conducted by trained professionals. Students, on the other hand, feel that a revision in the curriculum is required to make it more relevant.
“A course like this must also have well-rounded international exposure. It’s important to understand these issues from a global perspective because only then can we understand India’s position more holistically," said Priyanka Sharma, a student of Maitreyi College.