Regional Association for Women’s Studies (RAWS) has welcomed Central government’s recent announcement to introduce Gender Studies and Human Rights as part of CBSE curriculum.

The move will have enormous implications as sensitisation of children on gender right from the school level will help in breaking the chain of patriarchy, the root cause for gender inequality in the society. In future, sexual assault and injustice against women will be viewed as people’s issue and not just confined to women’s organisations, N.Manimekalai, Secretary of RAWS, said.

The moment boys and girls recognise that that they are equal, teasing and rape can be curbed.

For, the androcentric perspective is neither natural nor related to the biological relationship between men and women, but outcome of socio-cultural norms that differ across region, culture and caste, Prof.Manimekalai, who is also Professor, Department of Women’s Studies, Bharathidasan University, said.

Since gender discrimination had been institutionalised through various social cultural institutions and norms, right from childhood, Women’s Studies Centres have been lobbying for incorporating gender studies into school curriculum.

Recently, RAWS had conducted a conference on ‘mainstreaming gender in curriculum’. The curriculum must be planned in such a way that it creates sensitivity rather than mere awareness.

Gandhian perspective of human rights, knowledge of constitutional rights to education and health by girl children, and redressal mechanism for deviations were need of the hour for school curriculum, Prof. Manimekalai said.

The interrelationship between caste, class and gender; the theoretical underpinnings of patriarchy and capitalism; the linkages of culture and patriarchy; and societal norms must be thoroughly discussed and the teaching methodology must be activity oriented with brain storming, case studies, group discussions, and role play. Requesting the State government must take the cue and follow suit, Prof.Manimekalai thanked the government for coming out with proposals to curb crimes against women with a 13-point programme though some of them like chemical castration may not be accepted from a human rights perspective.

The UGC has already recognised Women’s Studies / Gender Studies as a discipline for National Eligibility Test for lectureship and fellowship. As in Western Universities, the UGC must recommend starting of Gender Studies / Women’s Studies Departments in all colleges and universities, the RAWS emphasised.

The CBSE’s objective to introduce the course must be understood in the right spirit by teachers and students, Prof. Manimekalai said.

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