Gender socialization of both boys and girls begins early, and it is important to initiate change processes at a young age to shape attitudes and transform behaviors. Schools and colleges play a major role in this regard because students spend large amounts of time engaged with peers in such settings. Creating positive social norms in educational institutions that value girls and their rights is important to improve the well-being of girls and achieve long-term and sustainable social change. India is home to around 232 million individuals aged 15-24 years, who account for 19.15% 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. We need to tap into the goodness and sense of justice of these young boys and girls, and give them tools for maintaining those gifts as they encounter people and experiences that are different from their own. We need to engage with these boys and girls to challenge and shift gender norms that contribute to girls and women having less worth, opportunities and decision-making ability than boys and men. In order to promote gender equality, guaranteed by Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, we need to change the mode of interaction at all levels - home, school, work place and so on. To increase the outreach for creating an environment that fosters equal treatment, Government of India envisages engagement of Gender Champions in all schools and colleges across the country. Gender Champions can be both boys and girls above 16 years of age enrolled in educational institutions. It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development.
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 ultimate aim and mission of Gender Champion Club is to make the young boys and girls to be gender sensitive and to create positive social norms which gives values to the girls and their rights.
The broad mandate of a Gender Champion is to provide an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the social and cultural constructions of gender that shape the experiences of women and men in society. To facilitate the recognition to mobilize the women's empowerment and encourage the students to sign up and express their support for gender justice and equality.