UGC asks varsities to create pool of 'gender champions'

 With the aim of creating an environment that fosters equal treatment to girls and boys at all levels, UGC has proposed to create a pool of "gender champions" who will facilitate an enabling atmosphere on the campuses where girls are treated with dignity and respect.

New Delhi: With the aim of creating an environment that fosters equal treatment to girls and boys at all levels, UGC has proposed to create a pool of "gender champions" who will facilitate an enabling atmosphere on the campuses where girls are treated with dignity and respect.

The proposal also seeks to create 'Gender Clubs' and identification of gaps in school and college activities with respect to gender, and make recommendations on how to address these gaps.

A communication in this regard has been sent to all the Vice Chancellors with a request to implement the guidelines in the interest of the students to achieve "long-term sustainable change".

"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."

"They will strengthen the potential of young girls and boys to advocate for gender equality and monitor progress towards gender justice," the communication said.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has also directed the varsities for "urgent" compliance with the order and has sought an action taken report.

"This may be treated as most urgent and actions taken in this regard may be sent to UGC by August 31," it said.

According to the guidelines, 'Gender Champions' can be both boys and girls above 16 years of age enrolled in educational institutions.

Among other activities, they will also engage in popularising phone numbers of services such as police helpline, women helpline, hospitals among students.

The initiative is being jointly handled by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development.

The Gender Clubs are also expected to write blogs on gender equity and issues, and untold stories of extraordinary men and women who changed lives of women and girls, and about enabling legislation and government schemes.

"India is home to around 232 million individuals aged l5-24 years, who account for 19.15 percent of the country's population. Engaging with these young boys and girls is crucial to help them critically assess notions of masculinity and question prevailing gender inequities," the UGC guidelines added. 

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