Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi believes boys and girls at the ages of 16 or 17 are “very hormonally challenged” and should be treated as such. College girls living in hostels should have an early curfew to protect them from their “own hormonal outbursts”, the minister told NDTV on Monday.

“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,” Gandhi said in an interview with the TV channel ahead of International Women’s Day. “It really is for your own safety,” said the minister, whose primary work involves framing policies for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

She did clarify that the early curfew should be applicable to boys as well, and not just the girls staying at college hostels. However, she then went on to say that tightening security at colleges will not solve the problem of women’s safety. “No, not by two Bihari gentlemen at gate with dandas [sticks],” she said.

The problem can only be solved by imposing time limits for everything, she said. As an example, she suggested that if students are interested in studying in a library, two nights should be designated to boys and two nights for girls.