Kochi: The Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) here has announced its decision to give its engineering students the choice of wearing gender-neutral uniforms. The move comes after the university's path-breaking decision to grant menstrual leave to its female students.
In a recent order, the Vice-Chancellor of the university has accepted the long-pending demand of the students in this regard and gave them the freedom to choose the dress of their choice from the existing uniforms.
So far, male students of the School of Engineering under CUSAT had to wear shirts and pants and female students churidars.
Now, as per the new order, they will have the option of wearing either shirts-pants combo or churidar as per their choice, irrespective of their gender.
In a letter to the Principal of the School of Engineering, University joint registrar Sobha S made it clear that the new directive would come into effect from June 1, 2023.
The Vice-Chancellor has ordered to adopt Gender Neutral Uniform at School of Engineering without changing the existing colour (churidar or pants and shirts), the letter said.
The university authorities took the path-breaking decision based on a recent representation submitted by Namitha George, Chairperson of the SFI students' union of CUSAT.
Over 2,000 regular students, pursuing various courses under the College of Engineering, are expected to benefit from the new order, said Namitha.
"There had been informal talks regarding the need of gender neutral uniforms for some time among students. Our union formally submitted a representation pressing the demand recently," she told PTI.
Based on the student union's representation, the University had first called the meeting of faculties and then that of the representatives of various student unions to take a final decision to make uniforms gender neutral.
"Several opinions came up during the meeting. But, finally everybody arrived at a consensus on the matter," she said.
Namitha said there was actually no change in the present uniforms but students would get a choice to select the uniforms they would like to wear irrespective of their gender.
Earlier this year, the university had granted "menstruation benefit" to students in the form of additional condonation of shortage of attendance. Considering the long-pending demand of the students, it had sanctioned an additional 2 per cent of condonation of shortage of attendance to female students, in each semester.
An autonomous university, CUSAT has over 8,000 students in various streams and more than half of them are girls.
(With inputs from PTI)