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Educational Institutions for Women

During the 1970s only a few scholars and activists had researched women’s issues and highlighted women’s roles in the family and the economy. A few Christian educational institutions for women, such as the Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow and Lady Doak College, Madurai, were among the first to introduce WS in their curricula. The formation of IAWS provided an impetus and the Association actively advocated the establishment of Women’s Studies Centres in universities. IAWS members have continued to be closely involved with the UGC’s efforts in this direction. Women’s studies gradually gained space both within academia and outside. In the 1980s several autonomous women’s groups and NGOs began to shape public discourse through their campaigns and strong articulation, setting an agenda for action on women’s concerns.

Administrators in the government and agencies that were sympathetic to the women’s movement helped to fund research. The emergence of feminist publishing served to bridge distinctions between activist writings and research, and also between basic and applied research. Through the years, IAWS has had an important role in giving legitimacy to the multiple objectives of women’s studies, critiquing and countering gender bias in the production of knowledge, and in policies, institutions and processes.

IAWS conferences attempt to balance structured intellectual discussions with cultural events and exhibits that foreground other ways of knowing through film screenings, exhibitions, drama, music and craft.

IAWS is also establishing a comprehensive archive, consisting of both material and digital documents. The material archive has been inaugurated at the Research Centre for Women’s Studies at SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai.

The IAWS has compiled many of its material in a CD that includes all the newsletters (many of which are only available as single copies) and some 20 publications most of which are out of print (see the listing in the December 2007 Newsletter). It also includes Conference brochures, Presidential addresses, Reports to the General Body and other such documents from the First National Conference, 1981, onwards.


Pedagogy Workshop by IAWS and ACWS, AMU 2023

Two-Day Workshop on Pedagogy for Women’s Studies, (For WSCs of North and North Eastern Region), 28 February- 01 March 2023

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IAWS Conference on Economic Empowerment

Conference on Economic Empowerment of Women in East India and the Role of Women’s Collectives, March 17-18, 2023

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Northern Regional Conference 2023, 5th and 6th of May

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Watch | 'Exception to Marital Rape Is Violence Against Women': SC Advocate Vrinda Grover

January 28, 2022

As the Delhi high court is hearing petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape and challenging the exception 2 in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code,The Wire discusses with Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover notions of consent, violence against women and the idea of ‘marriage strike’. Watch the full video here

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Noted feminist and Assam’s first woman doctoral graduate in English Aparna Dutta Mahanta dies at 75

January 28, 2022

Dibrugarh (Assam), Jan 27 (PTI) Noted feminist and Assam’s first woman doctoral graduate in English literature, Aparna Dutta Mahanta, has died at a state-run hospital here, doctors said on Thursday. She was 75, and is survived by her husband, noted scientist Dr Paramananda Mahanta, a son and a daughter. Mahanta did her masters in English Literature from Gauhati University as well as the University of Leeds under a British Council scholarship programme. She spent her professional life as a professor in the English Department of Dibrugarh University and was the founding director of the Women’s Study Centre in the varsity. Mahanta was one of the pioneers of modern feminist movement in Assam. She had authored many books and started Assamese magazine ‘Aideur Jonaki Baat’ on women’s issues. Read the original article here

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IAWS Tribute to Prof. Aparna Dutta-Mahanta (20-8-1946 to 26-1-2022)

January 28, 2022

IAWS Tribute to Prof. Aparna Dutta-Mahanta (20-8-1946 to 26-1-2022) In passing away of Prof. Aparna Dutta-Mahanta the women’s studies and women’s rights movement not only in the North-East region but all over India has felt an irreparable loss. Dr. Aparna Mahanto was a Retired Professor of the Department of English, Dibrugarh, a Founder Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies, Dibrugarh University, a life member of Indian Association for Women’s Studies and a veteran women's rights activist who kept in touch with women’s studies centres and women’s organisations all over India. She was a member of IAWS national executive Committee and Coordinator of North Eastern region during 200508. She was highly respected throughout India and represented the Northeast Region in the national gatherings. She was highly revered for her writings in Assamese and English on all contemporary challenges faced by people in general and women in particular, in the North Eastern states from the perspective of human rights and women’s rights. In her highly acclaimed book entitled, Nareebad- Part 1 and part 2, Prof. Aparna Mahanta charted the herstory of feminist movement in its various trajectories across histories and geographies. Her another celebrated book was Journey of Assamese Women (1836-1937) that contextualised Assamese women’s predicaments in the colonial political economy shaped by the British rulers. Throughout her academically active life of over 50 decades, Aparnadi had been an epitome of courage, supporter of feminist praxis and powerhouse of energy. She took part in the National Conferences of IAWS and women's rights movements took a pro-active interest in the deliberations, polemics and resolutions passed by the delegates, indulged in animated debates, led rallies and addressed public meetings at the end of the conference during the 1980s and 1990s. She was a member of Mahila Samakhya Project of Government of Assam. She was actively involved in the women’s movement in Assam till the end. At the seminar on 25-22020 on “Prevention and Abolition of the Practice of Witch Hunting” at Indira Miri Conference Hall of Dibrugarh University, she had urged the audience not to look at witch hunting as an isolated issue but within a larger web of women-related crimes as well as the property rights of women and she also pointed out how women in matrilineal societies too become victims of witch hunting. IAWS heartfelt condolences to the family members and friends of Prof. Aparna Dutta. Salute to this brave soul. Rest in power Prof. Aparna Dutta. In solidarity, Indian Association for Women’s Studies Download the original file here

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