With technology playing such a prominent role in today’s modern society, women‘s studies emphasize challenges and concerns that women worldwide confront.
Considering history, how women’s empowerment has transformed every aspect, and how gender inequality tackle at every level, women’s studies make up multidisciplinary fields of inquiry of feminist studies and approaches.
Women Studies teaches students how to analyze complex structures and interactions in society through the vision of women and gender.
Universities educate about legislation, development programs, feminism research, women’s political growth, and various other issues. In this article, we will learn about women’s studies in India.
Women Studies – An Overview
Women’s Studies, also known as Gender Studies or Feminist Studies, is the multidisciplinary study of how the intersectionality of gender, color, age, class, nationality, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, and other distinctions impacts practically every aspect of the social, political, and cultural experience.
The foundation for the academic discipline of Women’s Studies was formed in the 1960s and 1970s student, civil rights, and women’s movements when women in academia complained that literary knowledge creation neglected to acknowledge gender as a frame of analysis.
Many women took use of the opportunity granted to them in the 1960s and 1970s to share their tales, worried about the sometimes erroneous and insulting patriarchal narratives about them.
Women used their formal education and the cultural environment of radical, social, and political upheaval to demand a more structured and possibly liberating narrative about women’s life.
Women’s studies look at how gender influences popular culture and private life and legislation and social policies.
Women’s Studies tries to understand gender roles in past and present civilizations by researching various disciplines such as political science, sociology, literature, psychology, and others.
Women’s and gender studies also investigate how more important structural factors impact the lives of individual women and men in both historical and present situations, such as nation formation, globalization, economic advancements, and the legal system.
Women’s Studies curricula and faculty research continue to reflect the continually shifting routes that numerous First and Third World feminisms are pursuing today.
Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary discipline that investigates gender roles as they are defined socially and culturally.
It crosses the boundaries of traditional disciplines, raising essential questions about how we have organized ourselves, our significant social and political institutions, and knowledge itself. It draws on academic areas such as history, psychology, media sociology, sociology, literary criticism, and anthropology.
As an academic discipline, women’s studies offer new frameworks that are attentive not just to gender concerns but also to concerns of race, class, and ethnicity.
Women’s Studies revises our perceptions of ourselves and our society by examining the profound and problematic influence of sexual inequality.
Because of the expanding worldwide relevance of women’s issues, students with a Women’s Studies specialization well equip for professional programs in law, medicine, business, and graduate programs in social work, education, and the arts and sciences.
Students who major in Women’s Studies are pretty well-positioned to work in education, public institutions, development, journalism, social work, and the commercial sector, whether they go on to professional or graduate school.
Despite being a relatively recent phenomenon in higher education, Women’s Studies is now well established as an interdisciplinary area of study that relies on information from the humanities, social sciences, medicine, and natural science.
The field’s current investigation of identity, power, and privilege extends far beyond the label of “woman.”
Women studies is an academic discipline that studies and analyses the social and cultural construction of gender and focuses on numerous topics concerning women to emphasize their place in society.
The academic field is taught in universities and colleges as classes to learn about privilege and oppression, the relationship between power and gender, and socioeconomic class.
Students in women’s studies learn about feminist theory, perspective theory, multiculturalism, transnational feminism, social justice, and materialism.
Women’s studies first established an academic subject in 1977, when there were 276 women’s studies programs countrywide, which rose to 530 programs by 1989.
Women Studies in India- An Overview
Women’s Studies is a broad term that refers to research and teaching that, on the one hand, describes, discusses, and investigates the social, political, and economic status of women. As well as the historical, cultural, and contextual factors that influence this status, and on the other, seek out women’s voice, presence, and manifestation in history, literature, and the creative arts.
The insight that it is specifically referring to the body of research and teaching that has come into existence due to the post-World War II wave of feminism is implicit in the use of the term. This research and teaching are located in university or university-level institutions of higher education.
There are two fundamental issues in bringing this usage of the phrase to India.
First, the post-independence wave of studies on the status of women in India gained traction even before the feminist movement arrived in the nation.
Second, much of the study on women’s issues in India has taken place outside of universities or other institutions of higher learning.
While studies on women became more common in India, like in other countries, following WWII, the women’s movement in India stretches back to the eighteenth century.
During that time, there was an equally intense surge of contemplation and action on the condition of women, which resulted in significant achievements for women.
By 1947, the Indian Constitution affirmed women’s equality as citizens with males and deemed them entitled to special treatment as a “weaker part of society.”
Origins of Women’s Studies in India
The government provided the first push for the present wave of Women’s Studies in India.
The United Nations, in turn, put pressure on India’s government to do women’s research.
The United Nations General Assembly established female equality as a global objective in 1967, urging member nations to abolish gender discrimination in education, the labor force, and politics.
The Indian government was initially sluggish to reply to this request, presumably because it considered that with a Constitution that guaranteed equality and advancement, there was no reason to be concerned about women’s rights in India.
In 1971, however, in response to constant prodding from the UN, it established a commission to investigate the condition of women.
This committee’s report, titled “Towards Equality…,” was submitted in January 1975. (Government of India, 1975).
The study openly exposes women’s exploitation in the home and the economy and chronic neglect and deprivation in women’s health, nutrition, and education, as well as women’s inequality in marriage, property, adoption, and other areas.
It showed women’s absolute powerlessness and vulnerability in all aspects of their life, highlighting the vast disparity between their actual condition in the country and the positions granted to them by the Indian Constitution.
The publication of the study in January 1975 coincided with the International Women’s Year.
It was also released immediately before the 1976 Non-Aligned Nations summit session in Colombo to ‘integrate women in development.’
The International Women’s Year aided in bringing the report’s facts and data to the forefront of public attention.
The Colombo Conference on Women in Progress helped highlight the fact that the neglect, hardship, and exploitation of women in Third World nations might slow the rate of development.
Already shaken from its complacency towards equality and social justice for women, the Indian government became painfully aware that the advancement and involvement of women were essential to development.
The administration replied quite quickly. It built dedicated cells to handle the needs of women in many Ministries and other administrative offices.
For example, the Ministry of Labour and Employment established a dedicated cell for women in 1975.
Similarly, the Ministry of Social Welfare established a separate section for Women’s Welfare and Development.
In 1976, India’s Prime Minister announced the formation of a National Committee of Women, a consultative body chaired by her.
In 1976, the National Commission on Agriculture task with investigating the role of women in agriculture.
At the suggestion of this panel, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development established a specific section to increase women’s participation in rural development initiatives.
Working committees on women were forms at the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Rural Development’s Adult Education Programme Unit.
While the government began Women’s Studies in India, many different organizations sponsored and promoted it.
The United Nations’ role has previously been addressed.
The United Nations was not the only foreign organization that helped to create Women’s Studies in India.
Like ESCAP, the World Bank, and the International Labour Organization, several international organizations that are concerned with gender parity or maximizing women’s contributions to development have also sponsored and commissioned research.
Contribution to Higher Education in India
Women’s Studies has had a significant effect on modern academia through its teaching, training, research, scholarship, and activism.
The rebirth of the women’s movement in the late 1970s gave Women’s Studies a new direction, scope, and vitality.
Women’s Studies and women’s movements, on the other hand, have seen substantial transformations in the previous three decades.
A detailed examination of these shifts demonstrates the increase of Women’s Studies’ scope and concentration since its start.
Today, the phrase “women’s movements” rather than “women’s movement” reflects this shift in academics and activism.
Furthermore, significant developments in twenty-first-century feminism, such as the emergence of the Dalit–Bahujan feminist movement and studies, actions by Adivasi women, Muslim women, transgender women, and studies on class, caste, sexuality, and gender, have come to occupy a dominant place in Women’s Studies today.
Women’s Studies arose as part of a more extensive critical review of problems that shaped the way women lived their everyday lives.
Violence, communalization of society, rampant caste discrimination, dowry deaths, female foeticide and infanticide, sexual harassment, lower female labor participation rates, adverse effects of globalization, and many other issues affect women. Also, define the world education in which Women’s Studies exist.
It makes its role even more critical because these topics are both compelling and challenging.
Women’s Studies have played an important role in broadening the concept of “social,” going beyond previous restrictive definitions.
The idea of “class” is an actual example in this regard.
Unlike prior formulations that positioned class in opposition to gender, caste, and ethnicity hierarchies, Women’s Studies practitioners played a crucial role in making class and gender-critical to understanding women’s oppression.
They contend that gender inclination is critical to understanding class differences in society.
Though the Women’s Studies scholarship did not criticize the concept of development in and of itself, it did raise questions about the type of development pursued and its disparate effects on individuals of different socioeconomic classes and groups.
The mandate of Women’s Studies has evolved from its original conception, with an emphasis on equity and inclusivity, challenging its constraints and widening its scope.
If Women’s Studies first focus solely on women, it has now widened its scope to include gender-nonconforming individuals, trans people, older people, and other marginalized groups based on their identities and sexual orientation.
Gender oppression, coupled with economic inequality and caste prejudice, is a harsh reality in Indian culture.
The contribution of Indian diasporic feminists has underlined the situation of women’s various and overlapping marginalizations in the intricate interaction of caste, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion.
Feminist writings on various topics such as experience, identity, community, and dominant conceptions of multiculturalism and citizenship, interdisciplinary programs such as Women’s Studies and race and ethnic studies, pedagogies of accommodation and dissent, and transnational women’s movements for health and reproductive rights have contributed to a universal feminist pedagogical. As a result, Women’s Studies programs have pushed academia to be more inclusive and democratic.
Skills Required to Learn Women Studies
- Team Leader
- Problem Solver
- Good Communications Skills
Courses Offered in Women Studies in India
BA in Women’s Studies
Duration – 3 Years
The candidate must have a Class 12 pass in any stream from a recognized board and a minimum of 45 percent aggregate.
MA in Women’s Studies
Duration- 2 Years
The applicant must have a BA in Women’s Studies or any similar field from a recognized university and a minimum of a 50 percent aggregate.
MPhil in Women’s Studies
Duration- 2 Years
The applicant must have completed an MA in Women’s Studies with a specialization from a recognized university and have a minimum of a 55 percent aggregate.
Ph.D. in Women’s Studies
Duration- 4 Years
The applicant must have completed an MA/MPhil in Women’s Studies from a recognized university with a minimum grade point average of 60 percent.
Diploma in Women’s Studies
Duration -1 Years
The applicant must have a Class 12 pass in any stream from a recognized board and a minimum of 45 percent aggregate.
PG Diploma in Women’s Studies
The candidate must have a BA in Women’s Studies or any similar field from a recognized university and a minimum of a 50 percent aggregate.
Top Colleges Offering Women’s Studies in India
- University of Mysore
- Panjab University
- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University of Social Sciences
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences
- SNDT Women’s University
- Patna University
- University of Madras
- Calicut University
Career Prospects After Pursuing Women Studies in India
- Human Resources
- Social Worker