UGC Sets Guidelines To Ensure A Safe Environment For Women In Universities!

The University Grants Commission has provided guidelines for universities to implement to ensure that female student have access to basic amenities and a safe environment. In addition, it has advised creating women’s cells in higher education institutions for the purposes of raising awareness, implementing policies, keeping track of progress, and resolving complaints. 

In addition to recommending that professional counseling services be made available on campus, the UGC ensured that basic sanitation and hygiene facilities were easy to access. 

Overall, the committee found that there is a critical need to challenge the prevailing silence surrounding acts of violence against women, whether they occur on or off campus. However, the committee was aware of the dominant masculinities in educational institutions’ functioning that posed a significant obstacle to the implementation of policies meant to combat sexual harassment and gender-based violence in higher educational institutions (HEIs). 

 The UGC guidelines needed to be implemented by HEIs as a multi-faceted redressal mechanism as soon as they came out of their denial mode and acknowledged the prevalence of sexual harassment on campuses. 

Women will feel safe and secure on the campuses when every person there is gender-sensitive, including the vice chancellor, registrar, principal, administrative officers, all teaching and non-teaching staff, students, research scholars, and all service providers and workers (permanent, temporary, and contractual). 

The committee also noted that the UGC’s earlier report, “Saksham: Measures for ensuring the Safety of Women and Programs for Gender Sensitization on Campuses,” was suitable for the job and quite thorough.

 As a result, it is advised that Saksham serves as a guide for creating gender-sensitive programmes in HEIs. To put into practice the policy directives for women’s safety and security, a new soft copy of the “Saksham” must be distributed throughout the nation’s HEIS. 

For all HEIS, the committee suggests the new rules below to create a safe, secure, and gender-equitable environment. To create a safe, secure, and gender-equitable environment in all HEISs, the committee suggests the new rules listed below. The following two interconnected domains make up the broad classification of the guidelines: 

I. Infrastructure for a secure environment, including amenities: 

II. Women Cells (for sensitization, policy implementation, monitoring, and grievance redressal) in higher educational institutions and Women Cells (for basic facilities and amenities for a secure environment for women on campuses). 

Source- UGC, Times of India  

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