‘President’ Instead of ‘He’: Gender Parity in St Stephen’s Student Union

The current student union of St Stephen’s College has decided to replace ‘he’ with ‘the president’ in the institution’s constitution for the student union.

The union is governed by a constitution which was drafted in the year 1951. Back then, the college was only for boys and, therefore, the pronoun ‘he’ was used to refer to the president of the union in the constitution.

Although the college turned co-ed in the year 1975, the practice continued till date.
Now, 68 years later, the student union of the college has decided to modify the rule in order to ensure gender parity. Ramon Mohora, the president of the student union, said that the decision was taken “to make the future more accessible and non-discriminatory.”

According to the Indian Express, the college’s union cabinet and the students’ council unanimously approved the bill to make the change in the first week of September. Last Friday, the bill was also passed in a general body meeting. The students are awaiting the final approval of the principal, said the report.

Also read: Students Explain How St. Stephen’s Stifles Protests on Campus

Mohora said the decision was taken to “celebrate and recognise gender diversity among people, and to also move in the direction of reform and equality in college life for people belonging to different genders”.

“This was long overdue. Our college began as an all-male college and women were admitted only later. But even after that, no one really took into account the changes that needed to be made in the constitution. As a result, there was a lack of participation from women in the students’ union. In our long history, we’ve only had two women presidents,” he said.

According to Mohora, the previous president wanted to do the same but couldn’t do in his tenure due to some reasons. The current union, hence, decided to take it from there and proposed a bill to amend the constitution.

Besides, Mohora has ensured that there are seven women in his 15 member-cabinet calling it a “conscious decision.”

He had fought the elections aiming to put an end to biases of different kinds on the campus and build an inclusive environment, the Times of India reported during the time of elections.

“We want to create a system where people in power are accountable to us,” he had said.

Featured image credit: Reuters