User:English Honours DDUC/Gender Sensitisation and Women Empowerment

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Department Of English, DDUC

University Of Delhi

Gender Studies Beyond the Classroom

As an initiative of Department Of English, DDUC, University Of Delhi, we in the last few years have tried to broaden the canvas of Gender Studies by creating awareness among the students on issues of sexuality and health. Gender Studies according to us can be made relevant only if it is taken beyond the classroom.

The English Department engages young minds on a continual basis on issues of gender discriminations, equality of sexes and sexual harassment and hence pedagogical interventions need innovations on a regular basis. We realise that concepts and issues of sexuality cannot be discussed in complete isolation of any medical knowledge. Moreover in a deeply entrenched Patriarchal society it is usually the women who are at the receiving end and need to be medically aware of their reproductive rights. If we have to move towards a more egalitarian social setup minus any gender bias the young men equally need to be counselled on issues of health.

We at the Department of English feel that the true empowerment of young men and women can happen only if they have an access to expert medical counselling. A competent guidance to dispel common misconceptions that young men and women generally harbour about themselves and their inter-personal relationships is crucial to the understanding of Gender empowerment.

As an innovative pedagogical exercise which is the first of its kind to be integrated as part of an academic curriculum in the entire of Delhi University, we have tried to initiate medical counselling sessions for our students of B.A.(Hons) English.

For the first four batches of B.A.(Hons) English we invited Dr.Rahul Manchanda, M.B.B.S,MD,MICOG FICMCH,FICS who was not only an established Gynae Endoscopic Surgeon and a Super Specialist but had several years of experience in counselling students of St.Mary’s School Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi . Dr. Rahul Manchanda provided counselling to almost 110 students on an individual basis over two sessions spread over two academic sessions between 2008 & 2009. The students in separate batches of men and women interacted with the doctor and posed their queries individually.

We received an overwhelming response from the students and we repeated the initiative. The feedback was positive even the second time around and now we feel this experimental initiative should be incorporated as a compulsory session for all the B.A.(Hons) English students.

We realise that a sensitive medical counselling of issues is required on a regular basis and should be done only by a medical expert. However it needs to be supplemented by the respective teachers in their teaching of certain gender related texts and concepts in the classroom. However we need to remember that It is the trust and the comfort level that a student develops with his or her faculty member is what allows them to confide in an invited guest of the faculty. Consequently, follow up sessions and continuity of the same expert is crucial to maintaining the trust and confidence of the concerned students.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day this year, i.e. 8th March 2011, we provided a link to the consulting Doctor’s website and his contact information on our Wiki webpage and English Society, Zest Facebook page, so that the students in future too can have an access to the same knowledge base. We have requested Dr. Rahul Manchanda to continue as our extended faculty in the forthcoming academic sessions of 2011-12.

Dr. Anubha Mukherji Sen
Associate Prof in English, DDUC
Academic Supervisory Committee. &
Gender Sensitisation Committee.
May, 2011.

Consulting Doctor (Dr Rahul Manchanda's) link:-