The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), in association with IQAC and Gender Sensitization and Anti-Discriminatory Cell, KISS-DU, organized an orientation program on ‘Sexual harassment and Gender Issues’ on 21st April 2022. Dr. Sunita Reddy, Associate Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, was invited as the resource person. This session was attended by teaching, non-teaching, and administrative staff members. The programme was conducted in a hybrid mode to ensure maximum participation. Dr. Reddy has rich experience in public health, child rights, and gender.
The welcome address was delivered by Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU, and Ms. Sanghamitra Ray, Chairperson of ICC, set the context of the Orientation Programme.
In her presentation, Dr. Reddy differentiated between sex and gender and shared some personal instances that she experienced as a woman since her childhood. She spoke about the misconception and myth attached to gender roles and how it plays a significant role in all spheres of life, be it a man or a woman. She said that even men are victims of this role, taking the pressure of earning for the whole family irrespective of their ability and interest. She added that it is worse for them when the biological structure is considered.
In the second part of the session, she threw light on gender equality in the workplace. Though the roles are expanded, gender roles are the same. She drew everybody’s attention to the fact that women are taking on the double burden (of homemaking and delivering tasks at the workplace). Dr. Reddy also shared many cases on the JNU campus and other university campuses related to sexual harassment. Furthermore, she also cited instances of how some particular behavior can be perceived as harassment and how it can be prevented. She explained the list of behaviours that can be defined as unwanted, unwelcome, and sexual. To give a clear picture to the participants, she broadened the spectrum of her discussion to gender, sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, and identity. This was accompanied by a list of relevant examples.
She invited questions, especially from the scholars, collected their opinions and views regarding sexual exploitation in different places, and asked participants to share some of their experiences. Dr. Reddy suggested conducting more sensitization programmes for scholars to reorient their peers hence creating a chain. She was elated to learn about the initiatives of KISS-DU to constitute ICC and other relevant committees as per the mandate of UGC. Dr. Reddy opined that regular orientation programmes would create a cohesive and safe work culture and increase the productivity and potential of the staff. She concluded her session by appreciating Dr. Samanta’s initiatives in building a renowned institution.
Ms. Sunanda Mohanty, the Convenor of ICC, offered a vote of thanks.