Centre for Women’s Studies
Centre for Women’s Studies is established in January, 2020 in Dr. Meghnad Saha College to promote, explore and disseminate knowledge about women’s lives and therefore to empower women irrespective of caste, class and religion in different aspects of life. The Centre will further work to make the students aware of the various social, cultural, religious, economic and political factors affecting women’s lives. Even in this twenty-first century, women have not achieved gender equality. Rather the multiple patriarchal structures constantly renew its strategic hold to maintain gender discrimination. In this context, the Centre will focus on understanding the interplay of power structures determining the gender relations in contemporary society.
Dr. Meghnad Saha College is located at Ranipur in Itahar, a Block in the Uttar Dinajpur district. The college and the surrounding locality consist of a large population of underprivileged women. The Centre will also work towards empowerment of these under-privileged women and in building greater gender sensitization of the mass population. As there is a lack of women’s studies centers in the nearby colleges in Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda districts, this Centre of Women’s Studies at Dr. Meghnad Saha College will play the pioneering role in its contribution to the theoretical, methodological and pedagogical debates in understanding the gender relation within the broader disciplinary area of women’s studies. Further this Centre will generate awareness about the question of women and to facilitate women’s empowerment through education, research and targeted intervention by other concerned organizations.
Centre for Women’s Studies in Dr. Meghnad Saha College seeks to empower women, both inside and outside the college, to realize their full potential in transforming their own lives as well as the society itself to bring greater gender justice. It will see women as active participants in various programmes of development and not at the receiving end of developmental policies. It will work to address the various necessities of women so that they will have greater opportunities in expanding their educational and career achievements. It will also reorient the target participants to re-examine educational as well as other value-generational processes which normativise gender stereotypes. Therefore, Centre for Women’s Studies at Dr. Meghnad Saha College will propose to create a vibrant community of scholars, researchers, teachers, feminist academics, students, activists and artists who will actively engage with the different aspects of women’s studies and larger gender issues.
Aims and Objectives
The broader aims and objectives of the Centre for Women’s Studies are:
- The Centre will introduce women’s studies as interdisciplinary research area and hence, it will engage with the scholars, teachers and activists across the disciplines and departments within and outside the college.
- The Centre will undertake both fundamental and applied research programmes on women’s issues.
Fundamental Research Programmes
- Presentation of Research: Under the fundamental research programmes, the Centre will promote research on women’s studies both by the faculties and the students of the college. It will also work as a platform for the researchers working in the surrounding region to represent their research on women’s studies.
- Seminar Library: The Centre will develop a seminar library consisting of the books and journals on women’s studies both in Bengali and in English languages to strengthen the knowledge on women’s studies and to keep the scholars updated about the recent publications in women’s studies.
- Newsletter: The Centre proposes to publish a quarterly newsletter to introduce the new research and publications activities of its members. The newsletter will also highlight recent developments in women’s studies. It will eventually incorporate the research and achievements of the students in the field of women’s studies.
- Publication of Journal: The Centre will publish an annual interdisciplinary journal which will consist of substantial academic research articles on women’s studies. We have further plans to attain the ISSN number and to include the journal in the UGC CARE List and in other scholarly platforms.
- Public Lectures and Research Talks: The Centre will organize Public Lectures and Research Talks by the scholars and professors who have been working on women’s studies. These lectures will orient the students and researchers towards a greater understanding of the gender issues and their socio-political and cultural implications. It will further develop a platform to bring the outcome of current research on women’s studies to the students, faculty and non-faculty members of Dr. Meghnad Saha College as well as to the broader audience. Subsequently these academic discussions will sensitize the students and the staffs on the different issues of gender inequality including violence against women.
- Book Discussion Programmes: The Centre will organize Book Discussion Programmes to introduce new books written both in Bengali and in English on women’s studies. A panel consisting of expert scholars and authors will be formed to present a critical discussion on the book and introduce it to target readers.
- Seminars and Workshops: The Centre will organize seminars and workshops on the various issues of women’s studies to bring together current research by the people coming from different walks of life. These seminars and workshops will help to reorient ourselves towards the process of gender stereotypification, normativisation of violence against women, women’s roles in family and larger community, women’s participation in the private as well as public spheres and issues of women’s development.
Applied Research Programmes
- Awareness Raise Programmes
The Centre will work in raising the awareness on the women’s rights, the legal issues related to women’s studies, the issues regarding women’s health and economic empowerment of women. In developing these awareness raise programmes, the Centre will collaborate with other academic institutions, grass root level organizations and individuals engaged in allied activities. The Centre will also function by developing international collaboration with other departments of Dr. Meghnad Saha College in organizing these gender sensitization projects.
- Legal Awareness Raise Programmes
The Centre will organize workshops by lawyers who will make the audience and participants aware of the legal rights of women. These workshops will also include issues of legal redressal to violence against women such as rape, molestation and dowry deaths and trafficking of women. These workshops will also incorporate the topics of reproductive rights, property rights and labour rights in favour of women. As violation of women’s rights is still so rampant even in the twenty-first century, it is very necessary to make women aware about the legal remedies towards these cases of gender discrimination. Hence, the Centre will propose to work with other legal aid agencies to make women conscious about their rights, both inside and outside the institution.
- Awareness Raise Programmes on Issues of Women’s Health
There is a general negligence about women’s health. Especially the physical and mental developments during puberty and menstruation remain largely unacknowledged due to lack of health consciousness and socio-cultural and religious inhibitions. As the majority of the female students of Dr. Meghnad Saha College belong to underprivileged areas, these female students are often prevented to give voice to their health issues due to socio-cultural inhibition. The Centre will work to bring greater awareness about the issues of women’s health in collaboration with medical groups, activists and gynecologists. The Centre will propose to
- Arrange workshops by Gynecologists,
- Organize medical camps for underprivileged women in the adopted village,
- Awareness raise programmes on the use of sanitary napkins and its health benefits,
- Awareness camps on the affects of child marriage and early motherhood.
- Women’s Empowerment Programmes
Empowerment for women not only implies economic empowerment but empowerment of women in political, social and legal domains. Conventional understanding of women’s roles both in family and society generally negates women’s substantial contribution in the economic development. Even if a woman earns, she is conventionally robbed of her decision making power in patriarchal structure of family and society. The Centre will work to make female students aware of the necessity of economic independence. It will further organize career counseling camps for the female students to guide them to different choices of career. Besides these activities, the Centre will collaborate with Self Help Groups and individual trainers to arrange training programmes in making of soft toys, making of jewelries, jute bags, handicrafts workshop, cooking workshop etc.
Moreover, the Centre will work to make the students and other participants aware of the political and legal empowerment of women through which women can be conscious of the political issues like Women’s Reservation Bill and legal issues like the Visakha Act, women’s right to property, various marriage acts and legal measures to redress violence against women.
The Centre for Women’s Studies consists of the following members:
Dr. Mukunda Mishra, Vice Principal, Dr. Meghnad Saha College.
Sanchayita Paul Chakraborty, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College.
Chandrani Halder Banik, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College.
Ghanashyam Ray, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College.
1. Dr. Irene Shabnam, Associate Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College,
2. Dr. Enarul Hoque, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College,
3. Jaygopal Biswas, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College,
4. Anjan Some, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College,
5. Ananya Roy Choudhury, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College,
6. Piali Roy, Assistant Professor, Dr. Meghnad Saha College,
7. Sutapa Ghosh, Non-Teaching Staff, Dr. Meghnad Saha College.
- Inauguration Programme
Date: 7 January, 2020.
Time: 11:00 a.m. onwards.
Venue: Seminar Hall, Dr. Meghnad Saha College.
Inaugural Speeches by :
1. Dr. Trina Nileena Banerjee,
Assistant Professor, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.
2. Tripti Santra
Writer and Activist.
- A Web talk on “Birth of ‘Women Writers’ in Nineteenth Century Bengal”
Date: 22 July, 2020, Wednesday
Time: 6:00 p.m. onward
Maroona Murmu, Associate Professor, Department of History, Jadavpur University.