Tamil Nadu has announced its plans to change the gender norms of its schools in a bid to boost the number of women in its workforce.
The announcement by the state government came as a surprise, said the Education Minister, Prakash Javadekar.
But the decision to make changes has been taken as a matter of urgency and the State Education Commission has been tasked with setting up a committee to examine the matter, he said.
The state government had said it would accept women from the age of 16 to 60 years old from schools across the state by the end of the year.
The Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Association (TNWDDA), a group of Tamil Nadu women who have been advocating for changes in gender norms, had earlier made a public plea to the state governments for change, calling for women to be given equal status.
The move was made to ensure that Tamil Nadu is not “part of a culture of misogyny and misogyny is not part of Tamil society”, TNWDDA president Raja Devi told CNN.
The change is expected to mean that women would be able to choose between becoming teachers, doctors, lawyers, civil servants or even bureaucrats, she added.
The changes come as the state continues to face a severe drought that has left many students without adequate food and water.
The drought has led to an increase in the number and number of cases of dengue fever, according to the National Disaster Response Force.