A badge of recognition awaits gender champions in educational institutes across the country.A recent circular stated that the University Grants Commission (UGC) via the Ministry of women and child development has decided to give badges to gender champions appointed at educational campuses in the country.
In order to achieve gender equality in educational institutions, the UGC had instructed institutions to appoint gender champions among students last year to foster equal treatment for both genders.
The circular from UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu, said that the badges are available on its website and educational institutions have to give away these badges to those gender champions appointed in their institute. It also added that a report of this action should also be sent to the UGC.
A Shivaji University, Kolhapur (SUK) official said that the initiatives such as gender champions are the need of the hour and might change how the new generation looks at gender in a positive way.
Giving the badges is also a way of appreciating the efforts of the gender champions and this positive reinforcement may get better results. and it might yield better results. "Almost all the colleges and universities these days have a women's cell which look into issues related to women, however, initiatives like gender champions, directly involve the students," added the official.
A circular sent by Sandhu on August 3, last year, stated that the UGC expects gender champions to strengthen the potential of young girls and boys to advocate gender equality and monitor progress towards gender justice and create a society that is gender sensitive.
"Gender champions are envisaged as responsible leaders who will facilitate an enabling environment within their schools, colleges, academic institutions where girls are treated with dignity and respect," it added.
The commission has asked colleges and universities to nominate a student as gender champion on campus. These students were to be given charge of identifying gender bias in classrooms, and observe the reasons for gender inequality and suggest measures that would promote gender equality.
The gender audit report prepared by the University's Centre for Women Study Centre in 2014 stated that women representation in the SUK's various authorities and committees was very poor. The report was handed over to the then vice-chancellor N J Pawar on September 22, 2014.