Delhi University’s Miranda House plans to train young women looking for a career in politics, said Principal Bijayalaxmi Nanda. From the next academic session, the college plans to start a three-month certificate programme for training women at state and national level politics.
Nanda said, “We are planning to start a pilot course by April and the course will be offered to all interested students from the next academic session. This course will focus on training and capacity building of young women at all levels, from gram panchayats to urban municipal bodies”.
She said Miranda House would work on the curriculum, She Leeds, a week-long virtual leadership training program designed to support women aspiring to enter politics. The college’s resources will serve as partners and co-creators.
She Leads is a project led by non-governmental organization Stree Shakti, The Parallel Force with the support of Chevening Alumni Project Fund (CAPF) in collaboration with Indian School of Democracy (ISD). The training for the first cohort of women leaders, being conducted by Stree Shakti currently, will culminate on March 8 at the India International Centre in New Delhi.
“We plan to give all the necessary and training to young women interested in joining politics at any stage. Though the programme was conceptualized for in-person classes, we plan to offer it in blended (online as well as in-person) mode so that the colleges adopted by us in Rajasthan under the university’s Vidya Vistar scheme can also avail the course,” Nanda said. The college is currently working with experts to finalize the curriculum and will hold a series of meetings beginning Monday to brainstorm on it.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and Miranda House alumna Brinda Karat, who graduated from the college in 1966, welcomed the move. “As part of the alumnae, I am glad to know that my old college is taking such an initiative. The whole aspect of women’s rights is linked to women’s rights in decision-making bodies. Women in India at different levels have taken important initiatives to show the relevance of women’s participation in political processes and it is good that our students should study the experience of women, particularly in panchayats,” said the leader.
Bhartiya Janata Party leader Shazia Ilmi also pointed out that having more women political leaders in decision-making processes would lead to policies which take into account the challenges women face. “When it comes to policy and legislation, women are equal stakeholders. There have to be ways and means to make things easier for more women to join politics. For instance, Twitter and Facebook make it ugly for women and there have to be necessary checks and balances to protect them from specific abuse and trolling,” she said.
Ilmi added, “Being in politics is challenging for women, especially for those who don’t have any sort of backing and are here on their own merit. Young women have to be taught to be determined because naysayers will doubt or question them.”