Kerala

Online gender awareness programme evokes good response

Anamika E., a BSc Mathematics student at Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College, feels that discrimination between the sexes starts right from school. Even very young boys and girls are made to sit apart. As a result, there is little interaction between them, and neither understands how or what the other thinks. It is only when they are slightly older do children realise that it is possible to be friends with the other sex. This kind of segregation, she believes, has an impact on gender relations as even a simple touch tends to be seen through the lens of suspicion.

Anamika is one among the students of her college who attended an online gender awareness programme being organised as a series by the Women and Child Development Department and the district Mahila Shakti Kendras in colleges across the State for the past two weeks as part of the Kanal project.

Anima Muyarath, lawyer and resource person for the programmes in Kozhikode, says in one session led by her for BEd students, the participants wanted to know how they could create a discrimination-free atmosphere in a classroom when they went on to a teaching career. The students, she says, were very proactive, taking part in a very academic discussion after the class on gender binary, gender roles, and so on.

Ms. Muyarath feels the changes in society in terms of improved gender sensitisation are reflected in the student community too. The discussions are serious; even dissent is expressed without mockery. Besides delving into the male-female binary, her classes underline the need for sensitivity towards LGBTIQ+ issues too, she says.

Anamika too says the response has been positive, with students sharing their experiences during the sessions. Those yet to attend the sessions have been asking for it to be held for them too.

Ongoing exercise

Sreesoorya Thiruvoth, State coordinator, State Resource Centre for Women, says the gender awareness programmes are not designed to be an ongoing exercise. Two modules of two-hour each on ‘Gender and relations’ and ‘Gender and legislation’ have been designed to educate college students on gender equality and their rights. This is to equip them to critically analyse gender relations.

Each session has a limit of 100 students and multiple sessions could be held in each institution.

Mahila Shakti Kendras identify activists, lawyers, social workers, and college teachers handling gender-related issues to be trained as resource persons. So far, nearly 70 resource persons have been trained, she says.

So far, at least six or seven programmes have been held in every district, and up to 10 in some.


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:44:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/online-gender-awareness-programme-evokes-good-response/article35724934.ece

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