During a chat show on Monday, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said that as a parent, she would want her children to always be protected. Agreed, for any parent, safety of their children is of paramount importance. But how can closing doors of a hostel at 6 pm ensure security for girls and boys?
She said: “Perhaps one of the protections is against themselves (the boys and the girls). When you are 16 or 17 you are also hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha is drawn. It really is for your own safety.”
Mrs Gandhi, how do you think a time limitation is going to act as a barrier for “hormonal outbursts”, as you would like to call them? Boys and girls attend the same classes, they spend the entire day together but do you think they get these “hormonal outbursts” suddenly after 6 pm? How is that logic even acceptable?
Also, these limitations are different for boys and girls. While boys hardly have any time constraints that they need to follow, girls are expected to go back to the confines by 6 pm. Are you saying these outbursts are only for girls?
Speaking at the same talk show she also later added as an afterthought that even boys should have the time limit. “Maybe the same deadlines should be there for both boys and girls… Why should the boys be allowed to wander about in the campus after 6’o-clock? Let them also stay in and do their work. Or they might divide days, two days for girls and two for boys where they may be allowed to access the library for long,” she said.
— Jishnu EN (@jishnulen) March 7, 2017
She is the same minister who has asserted that she has been battling for equal rights for all. She also claimed that the Indian government is fully committed to advancing the goal of gender equality and empowerment of women, and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women.
Despite that, it is often that she comes up with such sexist comments. She had even sparked a row last year claiming that “paternity leave will be just a holiday for men,” generalising a whole section of people for whom that leave might be essential.
In the talk show on Monday too, she ended her comments saying that an alternative may be worked out “if of course, you want to go to the library.” Yet again, generalising students, and looking at all of them from a hawk-eyed view.
There is no study that might suggest that rapes and molestation only happen during the nights. There have been multiple instances where crime against women has also taken place in broad daylight. So is improving security arrangements not a better way to handle it?
She doesn’t think so. In a comment that might drag her into further controversies, she said that “2 Bihari men with dandas can’t ensure security.” So there comes the third instance of generalisation from the esteemed minister.
Her comment has attracted several reactions from people who dug up her own history and said that even she got married when she was 18.
“Hostel curfew to save girls from hormonal outbursts: Maneka Gandhi”
Says a modern girl who had love affair at 17 & married at 18yrs 27days!
— Arun Shourie fαи (@FeignShourie) March 6, 2017
Now days, Maneka Gandhi is giving tough competition to Rahul Gandhi.
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) March 6, 2017
Mrs Gandhi, instead of making these generalistic comments, can you as a minister ensure better ways to tackle security and not blame instances of rape and sexual assault on “hormonal outbursts”. By confining girls and women of the society you are not ensuring their safety, you are just pushing them back to an archaic society. Women have put in a lot of efforts by making their position in the society and breaking the traditional barriers, all that we expect out of you is not to push us back from where we started.