For more than 30 years, the one-year postgraduate course at the Sophia Institute of Social Communications Media has been open only to women. However, starting from this academic year, the well-known programme will be thrown open to men for the first time, with a view to greater inclusion, different perspectives and furthering gender equity through a mixed classroom.
A portion of the 42 seats available for the course will be reserved for male candidates, though the exact proportion is yet to be determined. Applications have already been opened and the deadline is May 31.
“For some years now men have been wanting to join the course,” said Jeroo Mulla, head of the institute. “We do discuss a lot of issues of social relevance, inequity and gender, and it would be nice to have a more inclusive class and add another perspective.”
The course at Sophia’s is one of the first mass media programmes in the country. The women-only programme was set up with a view to champion women’s empowerment. Established under the Sophia Polytechnic that was founded in 1970, it will be the second course on the campus (after the hospitality programme) to allow men to enroll.
“We felt in light of recent events that the time is right to include men in our mission for gender justice,” said Sunitha Chitrapu, a faculty member. “It is one thing to sensitize women, but we also need to sensitize men to see women as colleagues and teammates. We want to encourage men to join our programme.”
Candidates will be selected according to the usual practice: an application, a test, interviews and group discussions.
The polytechnic was founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart. Alumni of the course include several well-known filmmakers and journalists.