The Women’s Development Cell (WDC) at the Mumbai University conducted a gender sensitisation workshop on Thursday for its male staff members. This was the first such workshop organised exclusively for the university’s male non-teaching staff members.
Anand Pawar who spoke at the workshop, said patriarchy and gender stereotyping in our society are leading to several issues.
The workshop, was conducted on Thursday afternoon at the Kalina campus, with the help of Anand Pawar, executive director at Samyak, an NGO working in fields such as gender, masculinities, health and development. The WDC, which has been conducting several awareness activities for the past 15 years realized that all the activities are not only attended just by women staff or girl students, but are also targetted at them, and desired results are not achieved due to absence of males. This prompted a gender sensitisation workshop exclusively for male staff members.
Chairperson of the Women’s Development Cell, Kranti Jejurkar said this was an awareness campaign for MU’s staff members, but will also ensure that they understand the issues of women.
Chairperson of the WDC at MU, Kranti Jejurkar, said, “We organised this workshop exclusively for males in order to encourage their active participation in the WDC activities. Not only is this an awareness campaign for MU’s staff members but will also ensure that they understand the issues of women. We hope this may lead to some of them coming on board with us or proactively taking part in our activities so that WDC will not remain a women’s department of Mumbai University.”
The WDC organised the workshop in collaboration with the economics department, that has gender sensitisation as a topic in their curriculum. Neeraj Hatekar, head of the department of economics, said, “After looking at the response, we see not many people are aware of the concept. If the auditorium had been full we would have realised that people accept the existence of this aspect and are willing to try to change the scenario. Then there would not have been the need for such an attempt as people would themselves be making conscious efforts. Therefore more such activities will be held to create awareness.” Adding to it, Jejurkar, said, “We plan to conduct similar workshops for class III and IV employees as well as teaching staff members of the varsity. But all these are being organised differently as the target audience is different.”
“More universities and education institutions should take such steps. It is patriarchy and gender stereotyping in our society that is leading to several issues,” said Pawar.
Pawar also said, “These topics are discussed in such a manner that they remain only in books whereas in regular life we see people conveniently accepting gender stereotyping, irrespective of whether they are men or women.”
Ritesh Devkar, a staff member of the Human Resource Department at UGC’s Mumbai office, said, “I am father to a daughter and I am not going to discriminate on the basis of her gender. But it is important that outside the house also she is treated equally.”
Ramchandra Zade, a research associate at the social science department, said, “It is not only about how to behave in university but it will change our perspective toward life overall.”
Nitin Patil, a technical staff member at the geography department, said, “In this workshop, stereotyping of male gender was also talked about, which is generally not discussed in topics related to women’s development. This approach can help many men realise that there is a problem, only then will there be change.”