The UGC Task Force on Gender Sensitisation 2013 visited University of Hyderabad on 5th March 2013 and interacted with the faculty, non-teaching staff and students in an Open Forum. The members of the Task Force who visited the University were Profs. Mary John (Chair), Janaki Abraham, Ayesha Kidwai, Susie Tharu and Archana Thakur.
The Terms of Reference of the Task Force are to analyse and assess the extent to which the existing arrangements for safety of women, both students and employees in particular, and youth in general, are adequate on the campuses of the institutions, to identify shortcomings in the existing system and to suggest measures to put in place strong safeguards, to evaluate grievance redressal mechanism for gender specific concerns and to suggest measures to strengthen them, to suggest academic measures and action programmes to bring about changes in practices and attitudes within society towards recognizing the fundamental right to gender equality, to suggest how gender education and sensitization can be made an integral part of the university curriculum in all subject domains, to suggest how awareness of gender sensitive issues be made an essential eligibility criterion in the future recruitment of university staff- both teaching as well as non-teaching.
Chairperson of Committee against Sexual Harassment, University of Hyderabad, Prof. K. Suneetha Rani welcomed and introduced members of the Task Force. Prof. Mary John introduced the terms of reference of the Task Force to the audience. The audience comprised students, faculty and non-teaching staff of the University. Apart from the written representations to the Task Force, many people spoke focusing on the gender-related issues on HCU campus. The issues that they touched upon ranged from basic facilities for women to the sexist mindset. Some of the important points that came up for discussion and that require immediate redressal are challenges such as safety and security for women on the Campus–lights, transport, security staff; basic facilities such as clean, accessible and adequate number of toilets, medical facilities; strengthening of Committee against Sexual Harassment, regional, religious and caste based prejudices and stereotypes that affect women’s dignity and mobility on the Campus, increasing surveillance in work place etc. Several ideas came up from the audience in order to make the Campus better in terms of gender sensitisation. Some of them are introduction of courses on gender sensitivity, frequent and continued programmes on gender, self-defence training programmes, University administration’s initiative in implementing measures against gender discrimination.