By Sharanya Gopinathan
There’s an annual event at IIT Delhi called “house day”, where residents of hostels can invite people into their hostel for an hour.
Himadri and Kailash are the two women’s hostels in IIT Delhi. On the 16th of April, the warden of Himadri hostel signed and put up a notice that said that all students were requested to wear “a full covered decent western or Indian dresses”. What looks like a hastily penned in addition specifies that this applies “on house day” (only, we’re assuming).
Considering that the rule applies for “house day”, when people who don’t usually live in the hostel enter it, it sounds like this is another misguided attempt at “protecting” women from men by policing their clothing. Interestingly, IIT Delhi’s own Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy contains a clause saying that it’s Internal Complaints Committee should “work towards creating an atmosphere that promoting equality, non-discrimination and gender justice”.
This notice also comes at a time when women and IIT are already in the news: at present, only 8 percent of the students in IITs are women, causing them to create a 14 percent reservation by creating a “supernumerary quota”, or an allocation of seats above the existing intake of students for women in IITs, the implementation of which will begin in 2018. Which is a great thing, but it would be nice if they stopped policing women and their clothing once they got there. We hope the 2000 crore rupees that the Centre plans has earmarked to encourage more women engineers doesn’t end up being used to buy Himadri-style fully covered decent clothes 😉