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DU Girls Tell You The 10 Things Needed To Make Our Campuses Safer

Posted on March 23, 2015 in Society

By Priyadeep:

What is it like to be a female student in Delhi University? Are we given a level playing field? Are these essential formative years instilling a can-do spirit and helping young women channel their passion towards achieving their goals? Are we free from being concerned about our safety while we are on campus?

A survey of over 2000 young women conducted by HopeInU gives some startling insights. 80.5% of those surveyed said that they felt no safer since the December 16th Nirbhaya incident, despite all the media attention and protests. More than 45% of them also shared that they don’t feel safe in and outside their colleges and an alarming 20% said that they had been harassed either by a fellow student or faculty or loafers in and around their college. 1500 out of 2000 young women said that they don’t feel safe commuting via public transport.

Living in a metropolis, we are exponentially more empowered and privileged than some women in India, relatively speaking. But the university experience is far from equal and certainly needs to be examined in light of the increasingly hostile environment that young women have to navigate to earn a decent education, and eventually a dignified life. Thus, HopeInU took a huge stride forward by bringing together young women leaders and students to address this critical issue. An initiative of HopeMonkeyHopeInU or Hope In University is a first of its kind independent club for young women in Indian Universities. Drawing from our own experiences, we knew that the university experience is vastly different for female students, compared to their male counterparts. And often it sets the tone for the expectations young adults continue to have from their selves and their environment.

Thus, as a part of our event called Chase The Dream, here is a set of 10 recommendations that we felt would make Delhi a safer place for college goers. These were carefully curated and presented by the team members. Each recommendation was democratically passed by Delhi University students from colleges like- Lady Sri Ram College, Miranda House, Jesus and Mary College, Maitreyi College, IP College for Girls, Gargi College, Kamla Nehru College, etc.

Encourage colleges to show a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against gender based harassment
Public transport or the commute to it is a huge area of vulnerability for young women.
They need to be hubs of empowerment and not merely complaint cells.
Same rules should apply to all students with regards to mobility, treatment and permissions.

Many female students felt they could not participate fully, as they were often worried about reaching home after leaving college late.
Delhi attracts students from across the country and they bring varied perspectives and mind-sets. The session will orient them towards creating a more equitable university experience.
Create space for professional mentoring and encourage active citizenship among young women. To contribute fully as professionals and students, we must close the existing gap and put a well rounded sense of entitlement in young women.
Ensuring that areas around campuses are well lit, and maintenance is prompt with regard to street lighting as poorly lit areas act as encouragement for harassment and further make the girls feel insecure.
While there are some truly inspired educators in many colleges, who ensure the WDCs are serving the female students to the fullest, there are plenty of colleges with alarmingly underperforming cells. Students should be able to offer an anonymous feedback of its functioning.

About the Author: Priyadeep is the Manager Alliances, HopeMonkey & Founding Member, HopeInU