India: Research Centre for Women’s Studies—Women’s University

India: Research Centre for Women’s Studies—Women’s University – Reports from around the world: Asia and Pacific

RESEARCH CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S STUDIES, S.N.D.T. WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY. Sir Vithaldas Vidyavihar, Juhu Campus, Juhu Rd., MUMBAI (Bombay)–400 049 INDIA

“Established in 1974, the Research Centre for Women’s Studies (RCWS) has pioneered the introduction of Women’s Studies in the Indian University system. In keeping with its core ideology, it carries out research, teaching and outreach programmes in Women’s Studies. Recently it has conducted the fallowing research activities:

EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE SCHEME: AN EXAMINATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE MECHANISM, IMPLICATIONS FOR WOMEN

Sponsored by the UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women), the study undertaken by Dr. Maithreyi Krishnaraj, Project Directed, assisted by Dr. Divya Pandey, Ms. Aruna Kanchi and Mr. Akolkar, examines the Employment Guarantee Scheme initiated by the Government of Maharashtra since 1997 to find out the prevailing gaps between policy and implementation, from the perspectives of poor, under-privileged women.

SNDT–WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY

GENDER BUDGET ANALYSIS FOR MAHARASHTRA

Sponsored by the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of India and the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCED), Dr. Krishnaraj and her research team undertook a gender budget analysis in Maharashtra. The aim was to examine the budget provisions made for the various departments of the State Government using the yardstick of gender analysis.

MUMBAI

MONITORING OF NGOS IN MAHARASHTRA AND GUJARAT

The Department of Women and Child Development, Government of India, commissioned the RCWS to examine the functioning of 100 NGOs working for women in Maharashtra and Gujarat. (Project Coordinator Dr. Veena Poonacha, research team Parul Khanpara and Meghana Mehta).

PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN J.J. HOSPITAL AND GRANT MEDICAL HOSPITAL

This action research project jointly undertaken by the RCWS and India Centre for Human Rights and Law (ICHRL), a Mumbai based NGO, was sponsored by the Maharastra State Commission for Women (MSCW). It aimed at conducting sensitization programmes for women employees and students in J.J. Hospital and Grant Medical College in order to find out the extent of sexual harassment in these institutions and devise institutional mechanisms to prevent such occurrences. Neeta Raymond, Parul Khanpara and Renuka Mukadam undertook the study, directed by Dr. Veena Poonacha. It also involved the participation of many women’s groups.

GENDER SENSITIZATION PROGRAMME IN VJTI, AN ENGINEERING COLLEGE OF MUMBAI

The MSCW also commissioned the RCWS and the ICHRL to conduct an action research programme in an engineering college in Mumbai to understand the extent of sexual harassment in professional institutions. This study was necessary because of the recently introduced affirmative action programme of the Government of Maharashtra, which requires that 30 percent seats in engineering colleges be reserved for women.

TEACHING/TRAINING

The RCWS also undertook an intensive interdisciplinary refresher course in Women’s Studies for College and University teachers from 17 February-13 March 2003. Sponsored by the University Grants Commission, an apex body governing University education in India, the course coordinated by Dr. Veena Poonacha examined the theory, research and praxis of Women’s Studies. The participants from various colleges and universities in western India attended 84 teaching sessions and were exposed to new developments in Women’s Studies as well as its core values. On 17 April 2003, the RCWS also undertook on a training programme for school teachers to enable them to identify sexism in classroom practices.

NEWS FROM THE INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN’S STUDIES

The Indian Association of Women’s Studies was established in 1981 and is the only academic forum for Women’s Studies teachers, students and activists in India. It organized its Xth National Conference on Sustaining Democracy: Challenges in the New Millennium from 17-20 October 2002 at Bhubaneshwar in Orissa. The pre-conference workshop organized by the RCWS on 16 October 2003 focussed on the impact of the changing socio-economic and political processes on the women’s movement in the country. The various other panels and sessions also discussed issues of democracy, development and the growing right winged politics from women’s perspectives. During the conference, six officers of the new Executive Committee were elected …”

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