During this difficult time of Corona virus outbreak, how can we as women cope better and support each other? Check our special feed and learn more!

This Is How University Campuses Nurture Female Friendships

Posted: October 14, 2020

University campuses don’t just teach theories, they also help build female friendships and solidarity among women.

Like any other advanced PhD scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), I was eligible to apply for a single-seater room. But I never applied for it and decided to stay on in my double seater room.

One of the reasons behind my decision was the fact that I would have to live alone in a room and I would not have anybody to talk to. As much as I love the university and hostel space, it would not have been the same without my roommate.

I knew that there was somebody who I could share my emotions and feelings with, someone who would listen. It was this safe space and comfort that I would be missing in a single-seater.

But it was not just my roommate, but also other friends who would be there when you needed them. It is only public spaces like universities that can give us that, where people co-habitat.

Women’s locker rooms provide strength and care

The recent discussion on locker rooms made me realize that yes, women too, have these locker rooms. These are spaces where we talk, vent, and share our feelings and emotions. I believe they are a primary source of strength and care for women in hostels.

And we as women use these spaces to negotiate the way they lead their lives. I and my friends would together go for long walks post-dinner, often waiting for each other to finish our work. Apart from the fact that we would use that time to talk, it was also a ‘strategic’ step because it made us feel safer to walk through the university campus.

Although the JNU campus is generally seen as a safe space, during late nights, there would be times when we’d need to think of our safety.

Occasionally, there were men in speeding cars who would pass comments. There was also the fear of dogs who roamed in packs at night.

Walking together, therefore, was a good move – both strategically and emotionally.

One can argue that this is just a story of everyday life. Yes, it is mundane, but at the same time, it is extraordinary because it makes the bond between us stronger. It is through humdrum actions like these – listening, walking together – that these safe spaces are built.

Campuses build friendships

University campuses don’t just teach us theories, but also build us as people. Ideas of care, fraternity, and mutuality are central to these spaces. As much as universities are about teaching and learning, they are also about building these feelings of solidarity and collective.

Female friendships, to put it mildly, are underrated and overlooked as safe spaces for women. And it is this friendship that I miss the most now that I have moved out of the hostel and am living alone.

(The picture above was taken by my sister Ritwika Patgiri in JNU campus during one of our evening strolls.)

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

Liked this post?

Register at Women's Web to get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads! Or - get a couple of really cool reads on your phone every day - click here to join our Telegram channel.

Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!

Rituparna Patgiri is a doctoral student in the Centre for the Study of Social Systems (

Learn More

How To Combine Career With Motherhood

Comments

Share your thoughts! [Be civil. No personal attacks. Longer comment policy in our footer!]

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

Do you want to be part of a network curated for working women?

""