Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
Haritha John | The News Minute | March 17, 2015 | 06:23 pm IST Follow @HarithaJohn1 A section of female students in the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram (CET), have launched a campaign seeking extension of curfew to enter the hostel premises from 6.30pm to 9pm, as they want to avail the same college facilities that the male students do. Within a few days of its launch the campaign seems to have gained support from people across the state and several veteran writers, activists and politicians have extended their support to the female students' crusade. “It is not just about freedom but also about inequality and gender discrimination. Teachers are reluctant to assign challenging projects to girls as it requires more time and research. Since we don’t have enough time to spend in the library or do field work, good projects are always given to boys, even though we are good in academics. We want equality as we are not lesser than the boys in any field,” says Aswathy, a final-year applied electronics student. ( Aswathy; Image: Courtesy of Aswathy ) The campaigners frequently send request letters to authorities, conduct cycle rallies, protests inside and outside the campus, hold discussion forums in the campus and also campaign online. The CET campus is open for male students till 9pm, which means they can use college facilities such as the library, Central Computing Facility, Physical Education Department, and Technical Business Incubation Center till that time. Protesters say it is ironical that CET being a premier technical institute in the state, from where many prominent female engineers of South India had emerged, practices gender discrimination. “We are all grown up and know what is good and what is bad. Once we graduate from here, we will be working in organizations with night shifts. If our educational institutions doesn't give us the courage and support to be ready for the future, who else will? Who else will train us to be industry-ready?” questions Aiswarya K K, a final-year electronics and communication student. ( Aiswarya K K; Image: Courtesy of Aswathy ) It was when a small group of girls, in the college, realised that the present deadline had become a hindrance to their academic activities, the campaign titled Break the Curfew was launched. In the beginning, the campaign had just five members, but the numbers significantly increased when support started pouring in for them. Ginu George, a third-year civil engineering student feels different hostel timings for male and female students "is basic gender discrimination. People think we are the weaker section and that is why crimes happen. We won't give up". ( Ginu George; Image: Courtesy of Aswathy ) Some students say that such a rule also affects their social life.  Mariya Babu, a third-year civil engineering student, asks, “Why should we be locked up inside the hostel at 6:30 pm, when others are free? Our social life and ability to pursue academic and extracurricular activities is being curbed.”  ( Image: Courtesy of Aswathy ) “Many other campuses in India have flexible timing for all students, and no security issues have been reported there yet. We need equality in terms of rights and opportunities. Female students of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram, which is temporarily located inside the CET campus, have a flexible timing and they are allowed to stay at the campus at nights. So why is it that the college has security issues just with us?” asks Sruthi Narayanan third year electrical engineering student. Tweet   Follow @thenewsminute

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