Gender disparities are no longer silent subjects. Education is the biggest field to introduce any massive change in society. With the spreading of awareness about gender discrimination at all levels, we find many self-sustaining and crowd drawing movements by young leaders of colleges. Legal measures have also made their way into colleges and other institutions. One of them is Women Development Cells (WDC).

In response to the Vishaka judgment passed by the Supreme Court in 1997, the University of Mumbai set up the ‘University Women Development Cell (UWDC)’ in 2001. Its key purpose was to make the university a gender-sensitive space.

These cells play an important role in voicing opinions on important matters that affect the daily life of women students. They provide a platform where students can comfortably participate and share their views.They actively promote gender equality

We find WDCs in almost every college and university. The level of their working, however, varies. Delhi University colleges have successfully planned out these cells and host different programmes through WDCs. Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) was the first one to get a WDC in 1985.

Women Development Cell – a success?

Rammya, a second year student of LSR, says: “WDC was an eye opener for me. At our college, we have regular programmes hosted by the cell in collaboration with different organizations like Nazaria.”

Apart from providing a discussion forum, we see the cells organizing fests, slam poetry competitions, cultural events and street plays. They team up with the internal complaints committee, and provide a broader forum to the students. Institutions like TISS, also train young members for gender awareness workshops.

Areas of Improvement 

Anjana, a 21-year-old student from St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, says: “The cell does organize workshops on empowerment, mental health and others. Yet, I wish it could do more than that..”

Students often complain about the selection criteria of WDCs. It has to be more transparent and open to all.  Colleges where it has been implemented are striving hard to make it broader by inclusion of different matters. However, the issue lies in some of the private colleges where it is yet to be implemented.

What WDC means for a student

A Women Development Cell in any institution symbolizes a safety hub for the students. It is also the sign of progression and open thinking. WDCs are no longer legal institutions on paper. They have become much more than that. To a girls’ college student, a WDC, unknowingly, becomes her strength and offers her different perspectives on gender issues. It empowers her to do what she wants. Hence, implementation of WDCs in every college is a must step to be taken.

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Rachna Chandira Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV

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