Discrimination no more: Delhi University Students Union sets up a Gender Sensitisation Cell

With an aim to tackle issues such as gender discrimination and sexual harassment, Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) launched a Gender Sensitisation Cell on January 15.

delhi Updated: Jan 19, 2018 17:27 IST
Aditya Dogra
Aditya Dogra
Hindustan Times
Gender Discrimination,Sexual harassment,LGBTQI
The Delhi University has set up a Gender Sensitization Cell to ease the lives of women and members of the LGBTQI community.(Raajessh Kashyap/ HT Photo)

Back in 2014, the Delhi University introduced a third gender category in their application forms, and has since tried to be a more inclusive institution for people of all sexes, including the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex) community. But, despite repeated attempts and various efforts, “there’s still need for sensitisation”, feel many from the community.

To tackle discrimination and sexual harassment among students, and to create a haven for those seeking legal aid if they feel unsafe, the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) launched a Gender Sensitisation Cell (DU-GSC) on January 15. Convener Narayani Anand — also a DU teaching staff member — says, “Women and transgender students make up an indispensable part of the Delhi University and we’re going to make sure that sexual harassment and gender discrimination are taken seriously.”

Batting for equality

DUSU president Rocky Tuseed believes that endeavours through this cell will nip regressive social conditioning in the bud. “Rigid gender constructs and social conditioning have led to an unequal balance of power between people, based on their gender. This results in discrimination, and often, violence. Our workshops will encourage students to redefine traditional roles and responsibilities, and to explore a world where they are not tied down to stereotypes,” he says.

DUSU president Rocky Tuseed (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

Tuseed assures that the platform will benefit those whose voices remained unheard by past unions and authorities. “We believe in inclusivity. Through this cell, we will fight to the hilt, to make our university a space where everybody feels that they belong here, and where they have an effective voice,” he adds.

What’s the community’s stand?

The LGBTQI community is equally hopeful. Aman, an Economics (Hons) student, says, “It is a great move that will help many who are closeted to feel free and safe. Many of us live in fear of being ostracised by our very friends and family, and this step ensures that we will have some place to go to.”

Nisha, another transgender student, says that “the move could mean a higher number of transgender students joining DU” in the upcoming academic session. “There is a Women’s Cell in the university, but we needed a cell like this because problems faced by our community are very different. Accepting different people is hard for many here. Here is a good opportunity to create a more inclusive campus. I really hope it pulls through.”

Some, however, are still sceptical. Ali, a gay student, says, “Some of us received forms inviting us to work with the cell but I feel that their bent of mind is still towards the heteronormative side. The cell needs to be clear about how it wishes to shift the paradigm towards one that embraces all genders and treats them as equals.” Akshay, a third year DU student is also not pinning his hopes on the initiative. “Will the Gender Sensitisation Cell be able to make much of a difference? We will have to wait and give people some time to work towards true inclusivity,” he says.

Objectives and functions of DU-GSC
  • To interact regularly with the concerned University authorities on the issue of gender discrimination and sexual harassment
  • To represent and raise the voice of students who suffer any act of sexual harassment or gender discrimination
  • To provide legal aid and advice to the aggrieved students
  • To work in sync with WDC, DCW, NCW and sexual harassment committees of all colleges of the University
  • To hold interaction with students to create awareness about gender discrimination and remedies available to curb it
  • To take preventive steps to curb eve-teasing
  • To create a healthy and safe atmosphere in the university for people of all genders, especially women and transgenders
  • To monitor the Grievance Redressal Mechanism of DUSU
  • To promote harmonious relations among all sections of the University Community

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First Published: Jan 19, 2018 17:26 IST