Policy Adopted on : 2011
Last Updated on : 2021
As the UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, AMRITA University is committed to prevent and address any form of gender discrimination and to achieve gender equity for the University staff and students, in all fields, so that women and girls can reach their full potential.
AMRITA aims to create an inclusive, safe, and equitable study and work environment while also acknowledging that women are typically underserved and underrepresented, in both general academic situations and in personal resources available to pursue academia.
While a women’s empowerment agenda is our priority, the ultimate goal of our agenda is to attain gender equity, in which both men and women experience a balanced and cooperative environment that promotes inclusivity. Such inclusivity ensures the vision and mission of the university are achievable by everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, caste, class, creed, etc.
- AMRITA is committed to providing fair treatment for women and men, according to their needs, so that all benefit with equal rights, opportunities, and resources.
- For the purpose of this policy, discrimination includes any harmful practices against an individual or group of individuals based on their gender, including any unwelcome conduct creating unsafe, unpleasant or offensive, hostile, or intimidating environments preventing an individual or group of individuals from effectively exercising their rights or benefiting from a fair and equal treatment.
- Harmful practices include violence, harassment, and inappropriate sexual behavior, and can take many forms such as words or statements, signs or gesturing, jokes, cartoons, pictures, posters, pranks, intimidation, whether verbally or in writing, and any other kind of inappropriate behavior.
- Fair treatment and non-discrimination based on gender shall notably apply to:
- Admission processes
- Access to research grants, industry collaborations, faculty development programs
- Access to services, accommodation, facilities, and healthcare programs
- Access to decision-making positions, leadership positions, and senior academic roles
- Promoting workplace flexibility and assistance with childcare on campus
- Ensuring there is no “gender pay gap”
- Hosting campaigns to prevent harassment and violence against women.
- AMRITA has a zero-tolerance policy regarding any discrimination based on gender, with strict consequences for those who engage in such behavior. Dedicated committees and administrators have been appointed to oversee the enforcement of this policy. Any discrimination or harassment faced by any person whether as students or staff, at all levels, will be dealt with sternly.
- Any student or staff facing any challenge regarding the same can reach out to us. Complaints can be filed with the University dedicated committees: https://www.amrita.edu/grievance.
- The committees will undertake inquiries with regard to complaints, ensuring that complaints are kept confidential to the extent necessary and that adequate protection is provided to the person reporting discrimination.
Annual Gender Sensitization Plan
AMRITA has implemented a Gender Sensitization Plan conducted annually, accessible here: https://www.amrita.edu/gender-plan
It includes the following:
- Promoting communication with respect for human dignity and social responsibility.
- Allowing the recognition of multidimensional representations of women and men.
- Promoting communications that represent unbiased representations of gender equity.
- Conducting workshops that promote diversity and gender-sensitive communication for members and employees.
- Enabling faculty and students to reach out to a trained, senior staff person in every campus in matters of need related to gender-related communication.
- Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for implementation and their follow-ups.
- Conducting regular awareness-raising activities among students and staff.
- In classes, promotion by faculty members of fair representations for leadership roles, impartial participation, gender balance in team projects when possible, meeting with faculty, having open and closed sessions with faculty members of the appropriate gender for related scenarios, complaints, and counseling during class hours and at hostels.
- Providing a network of gender equality advisers for research and coursework, facilitated by our Center for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (CWEGE). These advisors can provide resources for gender sensitization and inclusivity inside the classroom, and outside.
- Balanced gender quota in hiring committees.
- Promoting gender parity at the governance level within the student code of conduct promotes gender parity. The enforcement of the student code of conduct will be a key commitment by administrators and student leaders alike.
Gender Equity Agenda and Regular Needs Assessment
In addition to the Annual Gender Sensitization Plan, needs assessments, based on the Centre for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (CWEGE)’s AWESOME Framework (Gressel, et al., 2020) will be carried out annually on a multi-campus level.
This needs assessment will include vulnerability tracking and assessment of both men and women, students, faculty, staff, and facilities in order to best understand any issues that may inhibit either gender from fulfilling their highest potential both personally and academically. This needs assessment will span multiple sectors to ensure that all stakeholders are adequately represented.
Spearheaded by the CWEGE, the following AMRITA programs will be undertaken to ensure gender equity:
- Annual or semesterly campus workshops on gender sensitization.
- Regular surveys of students, faculty, and staff requesting any relevant, new, or unaddressed feedback, specifically on gender issues including safety, health, mental well-being, and associated services.
- Curriculum implementations at the Board of Studies level that requires equal representation of female authors and scientists in-class readings/studies. The same principles can be applied to research conducted in all departments, to ensure gender equity elements are included in relevant research areas.
- Form a Diversity and Inclusion Cell to improve gender relations and diversity practices throughout the University.
- Map all private facilities for non-resident females on campus, nursing mothers, or other women who need privacy for any reason, and determine if these are sufficient or should be increased/improved. Furthermore, these spaces should be maintained in terms of both cleanliness and have supplies appropriate for feminine hygiene, etc.
Collaboration and partnership within and across organizations and communities as well as bringing all involved in the life and work of AMRITA on board, to both champion the work already underway as well as creating substantial ownership of actions taken is a key to working a successful SDG-inspired agenda.
Based on this idea, a full needs assessment and implementation of the above programs will be incorporated into the annual plans of AMRITA as a priority issue. Heads of departments from across the campuses will be encouraged to support these measures and engage in all relevant activities as per their capacity. CWEGE will maintain a leadership role in this process, to ensure that the programs initiated meet the highest standards.