Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression. Gender socialization starts at an early stage and schools and colleges usually play a major role in such socialization which eventually contributes to the personality of a child. Hence, taking initiatives such as educating young minds to be equal and fair and teaching them about equal rights and anti-discrimination so that they discuss and support the idea of equality – whether based on caste, class, sex etc. – among peers, may go a long way in changing over all personalities of the youth of the country to eventually have young adults who would not only have a broad perspective with respect to equal right of others but also raise their voice against any inequality.
In India the population of youth currently is the largest, individuals from the ages 15-24 account 19.15% of the population. As Swami Vivekananda believed that the only people to make a difference in India are the youth, the Government of India along with the Ministry of women and Child Development (“MWCD”) and Ministry of Human Resource Development devised the strategy of having Gender Champions in schools and colleges. The Guidelines circulated by MWCD, suggest that just like any other club which is functioning in colleges and schools, such as a sports club, a Gender Champions Club should also be introduced to promote gender equality.
Click here to view a copy of the Guidelines for Gender Champions. You can also scroll down to read some of the other details related to the Guidelines that we have discussed below.
Who is a Gender Champion?
From the paper released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, it appears that a Gender Champion can be any boy or girl over 16 years of age enrolled at any educational institute. A Gender Champion should possess the qualities of a good leader, he/she should be responsible, decisive, supportive, easily addressed, acquire good writing and communication skills, should be able to cope up with his/her team etc.. It has identified certain other qualities that a Gender Champion must possess. These are as follows:
- He/she will be a responsible leader, one who will promote gender equality at all platforms, engage peers by organizing awareness campaigns, workshops and through various other competitions.
- He/she would plan visits to public service stations and educate peers about the gender issues that concern the masses, also standardize all police, hospital and other women helpline numbers.
- He/she would exhibit the knowledge of important Government schemes, legislation and court rulings which have life changing impact on the population.
How with they be chosen?
The Gender Champions at every educational institute shall be chosen by the Head of the Institutes in agreement with other teachers and student representatives. The candidate applying for the post should be engaged in all activities involved towards the aim of gender equality. On selection the Gender Champion will be issued with a selection letter and a Gender Champion badge.
The term of the Gender Champion will be one year but can be extended up to 1 or more years according to the verdict of the Head of Institution. The activities of the Gender Champions will be monitored by Nodal Teachers who shall guide and support the Gender Champions and also facilitate their work; they will also make quarterly reports regarding the activities of the Gender Champions.
The Champions on selection will receive distinctive training which will be formulated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to sensitize the Champions on gender related issues and also provide them with basic life skills and other information on gender stereotypes, legislation etc. Each Gender Champion will submit his/her activity details to the Head of Institution and these Gender Champions will then be assessed on the basis of quarterly reports and according to the activities they performed and their contribution towards gender equality. At the end of the term the Gender Champions will be rewarded with a certificate of appreciation for their deeds towards gender equality.