Women’s studies, also known as feminist studies, is an interdisciplinary academic field which explores politics, society
and history from an intersectional, multicultural women’s perspective. It critiques and explores societal norms of gender, race, class, sexuality and other social inequalities. Women’s studies was first conceived as an academic rubric
apart from other departments in the late 1970s in the West, as the second wave of feminism gained political influence in the academy through student and faculty activism. By the late twentieth century, women’s studies courses were available at many universities and colleges around the world. Women’s Studies is not limited solely to women’s issues
but various forms of oppression in which women’s issues become intricate focal points. The field recognizes that we must active participants in alleviating all forms of oppressions in order to create a safe space for women and that we have a responsibility to act and advocate on behalf of human rights.
Gender Studies has emerged out of the field of women’s studies. Gender Studies examines women’s identities, roles, and statuses with an accompanying awareness of how “manhood” is defined in different cultures or contexts.
While women’s studies concentrates on work women’s history and literature gender studies is more generic and concerns broader issue both women’s and men’s with both women and men. It looks at the broader of how
gender affects people, examining both women’s experiences. In India, a majority of universities offer Women’s Studies
rather than Gender Studies. Some of the initiatives guidelines for Women’s Studies offered by the University irant
Commission, the apex body for higher education in India, is given below.
UGC Initiatives and Guidelines tor women’s Studies:
In order to promote Women’s Studies, the University Grants Commission has been playing a significant role through the
creation of Centers tor women’s studies by implementation of a scheme on Development of Women Studies in Indian
Universities and Colleges These Centers in the University system have been functioning for about two decades, since 1986 and have succeeded in playing an interventionist role by initiating a gender perspective in many domains; in knowledge generation and in policy designs and practice etc. The Women’s Studies Centers were designed to act as
catalysts for promoting and strengthening Women’s studies through teaching, research, curriculum, field and extension
work, training and continuing education.
The Women’s Studies Centers were designed to act as catalysts for promoting and strengthening Women’s studies
through teaching, research, curriculum, field and extension work, training and continuing education.. The Centers have carried out their work not only in the above areas, but also in areas of gender equity, economic and self reliance, education, population education, women’s rights and law. They may have been instrumental in incorporation of women’s studies in various courses of teaching as well as facilitated research in socially relevant areas. The Centers for Women’s Studies have contributed to the visibility of women’s issues, tried to combine erudite knowledge
with socially relevant theories, and have succeeded in opening a dialogue in multi-disciplinary collaborations. Over the last two decades in India, Women’s Studies has raised important questions about the invisibility, distortion and marginalization of gender as a category of analysis in mainstream disciplines. The Women’s Studies Centers play a vital role in academic upliftment including creating regular, short term and basic foundation courses to incorporate new gender perspective in all faculties. It has to develop , update and restructure curricula.
These Centers create a conducive environment by creating infrastructures and women’s basic educational and common facilities including the benefits of involving and capitalizing faculties from other departments to adopt multidisciplinary approach in an integrated manner.
The Centers aim at greater participation of women teachers in the faculty of the Centers and also to cover various sub
disciplines concerned in the emerging areas of global and national interests, but also create adequate women’s hostel
facilities and hostel accommodation to cater to the requirement of female students especially in colleges. The University will take initiatives in monitoring admission and related women’s issues in this regard.