JNU revises directory pro forma after teachers’ association flags ‘sexist’ content

Days after the Jawaharlal Nehru University Professors Association (JNUTA) objected to “gender discriminatory greetings” in the form requested to be filled in to update the phone book, the administration distributed in a revised format.

On March 20, JNUTA wrote to the Deputy Registrar (Administration) expressing “dismay” at a communication from him requesting information for the directory. “The form provided asks women to indicate the gender and marital status of female professors, while male professors are referred to by their professional status, for example, ‘Prof’. JNUTA finds your search for this information both sexist and discriminatory, particularly because no man appears to be required to declare his marital status and there is no ‘greeting’ for married men, he had written.

“Furthermore, none of this information bears any reasonable connection to the idea of ​​a directory…JNUTA therefore requests that the form be revised to remove all traces of the aforementioned sexism…and reissued before teachers are asked to fill it in. We suggest that the column asking for the ‘greeting’ be removed,” they said.

The previous form had options for ‘Prof, Miss or Mrs’ under the ‘Greetings’ column. After the letter, the administration released another format with the entire column removed.

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In a March 22 statement, JNUTA said, “In accordance with JNUTA’s letter to the Deputy Registrar requesting revision of the personal information submission form for the JNU telephone directory, the information submission form has has been revised along the following lines: the discriminatory use of sexist “greetings” has been removed.

“JNUTA appreciates the responsiveness and prompt action of the JNU administration in this regard,” he added. Recently, a new team took charge of JNUTA. The first general meeting of the new team is scheduled for April 1.

Calvin W. Soper