Kerala University Fosters Inclusivity by Introducing Gender-Neutral Uniform

Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) facilitates inclusivity on campus by introducing gender-neutral uniform for engineering students of the university. 

Gender-Neutral Dress Code for University

The Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) has taken a step towards gender equality by welcoming students in the School of Engineering to choose to wear gender-neutral uniforms. This comes after the University’s recent implementation of the provision of menstrual leave for female students.

The pupils may now choose between wearing churidars or shirts and trousers. Earlier, the boys had to wear shirts and trousers until recently, while females had to wear churidars. For girls, the dress code included a pale green kurti, grey trousers, and a grey overcoat. It was a bright green blouse and grey trousers for boys. The new dress code will be in effect starting June 1. The colour scheme, however, has not changed.

The institution made the choice in response to a request made by Namitha George, Chairperson of the Cusat Students’ Union. According to the university’s directive, the School of Engineering council meeting also approved a motion to implement a gender-neutral uniform.

“The gender-neutral uniform implemented by the university has equal effect for all students of the School of Engineering, and is indiscriminate of one’s gender; boys, girls, or those belonging to the transgender community,” said Ms. George.

Several university departments, that have separate dress standards for boys and girls are anticipated to implement the gender-neutral uniform, according to Ms. George. According to Dipak Kumar Sahoo, principal of the School of Engineering, the judgement would be relevant to about 2,400 B.Tech (regular) programme students.

Previously, the university had also announced the decision to provide menstrual leave for students.  

Image Source: Website/Cusat

Menstrual Leave for Students

CUSAT’s decision to provide a 2% relaxation in attendance for girls has created the precedent for menstruation leave for female students in all universities in the State.

According to a joint registrar order, “the Vice-Chancellor has ordered to sanction an additional 2% of condonation of shortage of attendance to female students, in each semester, subject to reporting to the Academic Council,” after considering the requests for menstruation benefits from female students.

A student must have a minimum of 75% attendance in each semester to be eligible to take the test, per university policy. The minimum required attendance for female students would be 73%, with menstruation leave providing a 2% excuse for absence.

The students’ union recently presented an official application to the vice chancellor for approval, following which an order was issued for the menstruation benefit for female students.

Dr. Poornima Narayanan, a member of the CUSAT Syndicate, claimed that the institution had responded to a request from the students’ union. “The institution is making a much-needed show of support for the female students. The academic community will need to consider providing women students with menstruation leave in the future, she added.

Previously, 60 days of maternity leave were permitted for students at the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam.

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