The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, has said that teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17 are “hormonally challenged” and so a curfew for them makes sense.
In an interview with NDTV ahead of Women’s Day, Gandhi said, “When you are 16 or 17, you are also hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha is drawn.”
She also said that the problem of women’s safety will not be solved by tightening security at colleges, and can only be solved by having time limits. She gave the example of students studying in the library at night. She said two nights should be given to boys, and two to girls.
She said that as a parent who is sending a daughter or son to college, she would expect them to be protected.
She did clarify that boys should also be given the same curfew as women. “Why should the boys be allowed to wander about in the campus after 6’o clock? Let them also stay in and do their work.”
Of course, Twitter had a field day with her comments, which come at a time of the Pinjra Tod movement, a campaign wherein college students have been fighting to remove gender-biased curfews.
Here are some reactions:
This isn’t the first time the Minister for Women and Child Development has said something that didn’t sit quite right with the demographic she claims to represent. She has expressed scepticism over paternity leave, saying that it will just be a holiday for men.