Vels University promoting gender equality

Vels University, Chennai India, is devoted to promoting gender equality on campus and in local communities. After securing an ACU grant, the university organised a workshop to strengthen prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

One year after the workshop, Professor Vasantha (Department of Management Studies), securer of the grant and workshop organiser, reflects that the initiative created awareness among students and members of staff about prevalence of SGBV in society, as well as its impact on women’s and girls mental and physical health.

Students reported clearer understanding of SGBV issues, sharing their reflections on social media and with fellow students. Professor Vasantha reported more attention to the issue, and increased support for similar initiatives from the leadership of the university.

The workshop also received positive attention from outside the education sector, when the university secured the attendance of Mrs. Smriti Irani, the Central Minister of India. Mrs Irani, who presented at the workshop, praised and emphasised its importance in educating on topics of gender and sexual harassment.

Professor Vasantha is dedicated to promoting gender equality not only in her university, but also in the deprived communities around it, especially by helping the disadvantaged and illiterate. She supports university activities, including self-help training and University Bazaars, to help women develop their skills in creating and growing small enterprises, and illiterate women are given support to maximise their benefit from the training.