Published: 23rd January 2019
9 in 10 Chennai principals feel their high school boys have no clue about gender sensitisation: Study
The study titled, 'Gender Sensitisation of Adolescent boys and its linkage to the creation of positive male role models', involved principals from 20 prominent schools in Chennai as respondents
Research conducted by a Chennai-based NGO AVTAR Human Capital Trust revealed that there is an immediate need for gender awareness and sensitisation programs for adolescent boys. Among the respondents, 90 per cent of principals of schools in the city opined that young boys had problems in dealing with mental or physical and emotional imbalances in the absence of appropriate gender awareness and sensitisation programmes.
The study titled, 'Gender Sensitization of Adolescent boys and its linkage to the creation of positive male role models', which was conducted in two parts, involved qualitative research with principals from 20 prominent schools in Chennai. They were heads of co-ed institutions in the city and the discussions threw light on the most common challenges they have observed in male adolescent students (in classes 9th to 12th) in their schools, with regards to gender sensitivity.
The study further stated that 70 per cent of the respondents felt boys lacked confidence in accepting gender equality as a norm. Conducted among a sample size of 20 schools, the study aims to bring into lime light the lack of gender sensitisation programmes among schoolboys which leads to physical and emotional aggression when faced with situations opposed to their views and beliefs.
All of the respondent principals agreed to the view that such training can help boys become more consciously inclusive in their communications and interactions. All principals also agreed that such interventions can help reduce and subsequently stop instances of ragging and bullying of girls by adolescent boys.
India was named the most dangerous country in the world for women in a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey that was published last year in July. National Crime Records Bureau statistics for 2012 to 2016 show that approximately 40 per cent of female reported rape victims were minors and 95 per cent knew the rapist. The perpetrators belonged to the 'circle of trust' of extended family and friends. The year 2015 saw the registration of 34,651 cases of rape, this increased to 38,947 in 2016. Conversely, overall crimes against women rose from 3,29,243 in 2015 to 3,38,954 in 2016.
The majority of the cases categorised as crimes against women were reported under 'Cruelty by husband or his relatives' (32.6%), followed by 'Assault on woman with intent to outrage her modesty' (25%),'Kidnapping and abduction of women' (19%) and finally 'Rape' (11.5%), according to the National Crime Records Bureau data in 2016.
All of these data and the increase in the number of crimes might point to one thing that the current study throws light on — lack of gender awareness and sensitisation programs for adolescent boys in schools or other educational institutions.
"It is a burning need of the hour to build a future generation of boys and girls who understand each other and create an inclusive society. While there are several interventions to empower and enable girls and women, there is a dearth of interventions that empower boys to be champions of gender inclusion," explains Dr Saundarya Rajesh, Founder, AVTAR Human Capital Trust.
As a response to the study findings, the NGO has launched MITR – an initiative that works to create greater gender awareness and emotional balance among adolescent school-going boys. It will first be launched in Chennai and then will be rolled out as a series of training interventions led by Male Allies from the corporate world, trained mentors and gender experts. The initiative consists of workshops, orientation sessions, and honest conversations, and it addresses itself to boys between the age groups of 13 to 18, as a partnership initiative with schools.