Gender Discrimination is a systematic, unfavourable treatment of individuals on the basis of their gender, which denies them rights, opportunities or resources within any given society. The Women and Gender Development Cell (WGDC) is a mandated body as per Section 3.2 (15) of UGC Guidelines (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015.
TISS believes gender justice on campuses is clearly not an ‘isolated operation’ requiring quick fix solutions, but an exercise involving a perspectival shift that is able to set down norms of respect, non-discrimination and the unacceptability of any abuse of power, along with robust processes of debate, discussion and dialogue. This has to be the purpose of a new pedagogy within which issues of gender justice are seen as an integral part - not as ‘women’s issues’ to be ghettoized or added on to academic or curricular agendas as a ‘requirement’ or afterthought. Similar steps need to be taken on issues of gender non-normative behaviours, sexualities and relationships among different genders. Given the realities of a heterogeneous and diverse student body, purely punitive approaches to issues of the ‘safety’ of women and gender sensitization serves little purpose in terms of meaningful intervention however “well intentioned” they maybe. Instead approaches must be iterative, continuous and sustained focusing on empowering young people through educative, preventive and correctional strategies. The Women and Gender Development Cell (WGDC) therefore is mandated to work towards such processes based on the recognition that women and persons with non-normative behaviours are not ‘victims’ who need ‘protection’ rather have agency and capability, which they need to be empowered to exercise effectively. Hence all measures of WGDC are directed at promoting such practices, foster mechanisms that safeguard their fundamental rights and increase their participation and visibility in all realms of the academic world.
Objectives of WGDC:
The WGDC therefore on the one hand strives towards activities and programmes to create a gender aware and gender just environment within the campus. At the same time, prepare and capacitate young people with appropriate perspectives, attitudes and skills to work towards creating gender just spaces in the external world outside the Institute.
The WGDC also works in tandem with Internal Committee of TISS which addresses all complaints of sexual harassment within the Institute as per Section 4 of the UGC Guidelines (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015. The mandate of the Internal Committee is to handle all complaints, provide support to complainants, conduct the hearings and submit appropriate recommendations to the Higher Authorities.
Members of Women and Gender Development Centre, Mumbai Campus
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