Sindh's Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro University is hiring a new VC but only wants male applicants

Published 26 May, 2021 12:30pm

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Activist and academic Dr Arfana Mallah highlighted the sexist ad on social media.

The Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro University of Art, Design and Heritage in Jamshoro recently advertised their vacant vice-chancellor position, but they only want male applicants. The university published the ad in a Sindhi newspaper, Hyderabad's Daily Kawish, and it reeked of sexism.

Activist and Academic Dr. Arfana Mallah, a professor at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro, was the first to pick up on the news and took to Twitter to criticise the regressive mentality the university had displayed. "It is beyond condemnation," she said.

The document was signed by Qazi Shahid Pervez, the secretary of the Sindh government's University and Boards Department.

She called on PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to look into the matter and address it.

Due to the way the sentence was structured in Sindhi, one Twitter user felt it could have been a typo. The text says "that man", not "male", the user argued. Mallah, however, disagreed. She said it was deliberate because the same thing had been done in the English language advertisement as well.

Here is the English ad for the position. The third point in what is required of the applicant starts with the pronoun 'he', which is the problem. The university could have avoided this problem with two extra letters and made it 'they'.

Shoaib Ashraf, an advocate of the Supreme Court who is also a former judge and current activist, deemed the ad "unconstitutional", saying it should be challenged.

Other people also complained about the discriminatory nature of the advertisement.

This user called for a campaign to be started against the move.

Other users voiced their criticism too.

The Sindh government passed a law to establish the university last year.

The aim of the university is to preserve and study the art and culture of Sindh, hoping it paves the way for a "cultural renaissance". The university was named after Sindhi hero Shaheed Allah Buksh Soomro, who served as the CM for the province before Pakistan's creation, and was assassinated in 1943.

Dr Bhai Khan Shar served as the first vice-chancellor for the university, which now seeks to hire its second.

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