Ranjan K Baruah
International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world on 8th March. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. In spite of many progresses in the world there is still no equality amongst men and women. We should be aware that women earn 23% less than men globally , occupy only 24% of parliamentary seats worldwide and 1 in 3 have experiences physical or sexual violence and many girls-women have suffered genital mutilation.
The above data are worry for us but we must take action and bring equality. There are many actions taken around the world and one of the areas of studies can be women studies for understanding and bringing equality amongst men and women. Let us discuss about women studies as career in today’s edition as we also observe women day today.
Women’s studies is an academic field that draws on feminist and interdisciplinary methods in order to place women’s lives and experiences at the center of study, while examining social and cultural constructs of gender; systems of privilege and oppression; and the relationships between power and gender as they intersect with other identities and social locations such as race, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and disability.
Popular concepts that are related to the field of women’s studies include feminist theory, standpoint theory, multiculturalism, transnational feminism, social justice, affect studies, agency, bio-politics, etc . Research practices and methodologies associated with women’s studies include ethnography, focus groups, surveys, community-based research, discourse analysis, and reading practices associated with critical theory, post-structuralism, and queer theory. It is related to the fields of gender studies, feminist studies, and sexuality studies, and more broadly related to the fields of cultural studies, ethnic studies, etc .
Women’s studies programs are involved in social justice work and often design curricula that are embedded with theory and activism outside of the classroom setting. Some women’s studies programs offer internships that are community-based allowing students the opportunity to experience how institutional structures of privilege and oppression directly affect women’s lives. Students may work in different development organisation, international organisation on women development and equality, government agencies, etc.
In 1974 the SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, set up the first university research centre for women’s studies. Later, the Institute for Social Studies Trust (ISST), New Delhi, and the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS), New Delhi, were started. There are many universities in India and abroad that offers courses related to women studies. There are also certificate and diploma programme apart from Masters Courses.
The evolution of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS) can be traced to the emergence of the women’s movement in India in the mid-1970s and the publication of Towards Equality in 1975, the path-breaking report of the government’s national Committee on the Status of Women in India. IAWS is a professional association that aims to further women’s studies as an interdisciplinary academic field concerned with women, feminism and the politics of gender and also to further women’s studies perspectives in different disciplines within and beyond educational institutions.
It is not only a course or subject but more passionate people are needed who can contribute for social change by working with women. As the number of jobs are not many so many people do not take up the coursed but passionate people with qualification and planning will certainly excel through this subject. Last but not least let’s make 2020 count for women and girls everywhere.
(Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor, motivational speaker and skill trainer and can be reached at 8473943734 or [email protected]