Lady Shri Ram College For Women is set to begin their Academic Congress titled “Genderknowledge: Understanding Gender: Questions of Justice and Freedom” on 5th, 6th and 7th of March 2014.
The academic congress started its buzz with “Pre-Academic Congress” events and workshops conducted by various departments of the college.
Mirror on the Wall: Am I the Loveliest of them All?
Dr. Kanika K Ahuja, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Lady Shri Ram College for Women conducted a body image workshop, ‘Mirror on the Wall: Am I the Loveliest of Them All?’on 28th February as a pre-event to the academic congress. It was an experiential workshop that challenged popular notions of beauty and the ideal body. A striking feature of the workshop was the Mirror Assignment, which required the participants to stand in front of a mirror, observe themselves and write down at least 6 positive qualities about themselves. In the words of Neha Yadav, a second year student, “It made me appreciate those qualities that I normally don’t care enough to notice.”
One Directional Woman and the Feminization of Labour
Dr Nandini Chandra, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Delhi University, in her session titled, ‘One Directional Woman and the Feminization of Labour’, succeeded in giving a new perspective to feminism. Quoting from important Hindi texts like ‘Naukar ki Kammez’, she expressed the power dynamics that earlier worked, and still prevail in the bourgeois Indian families. In a society that exploits both men and women, she discussed how men are counted as ‘living labours’, with specified working hours and holidays while the women are treated no more than ‘dead labours’, machines that have to work endlessly. This was followed by an interactive question and answer session where Dr. Chandra engaged with the students and faculty.
Workshop on Sexuality
The Political Science Department hosted a workshop on “Sexuality” on 1st March. The workshop was conducted by CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action), which is a feminist-human rights organisation based in New Delhi. It is one of the few international women’s rights organisations based in the global South, led by Southern feminists, which works at the grassroots, national, regional, and international levels. The workshop focused on the sexual and reproductive rights of women and investigated the links between sexuality, rights, gender and health and their interface with socio-cultural and legal issues.
Other academic congress pre-events include a “Self Defence Workshop” a five day workshop facilitated by the Delhi Police and Ms. Meenakshi Pahuja from 3rd-7th March. On the workshop, Ms. Pahuja says, “The purpose of this workshop is to empower young women especially those who travel alone in Delhi. Our aim is to emancipate women to at least help protect themselves if they are unable to help others.”
On 3rd March, the Journalism and Mass Communication Department organized an interactive session with women journalists of “Khabar Lahariya”, an Indian newspaper published in certain rural dialects of Hindi, including Bundeli and Awadhi. This session was facilitated by Nirantar, which trains and provides ongoing support to rural women journalists publishing the Khabar Lahariya newspaper in local languages.
The pre-congress event schedule also boasts of a creative touch to the conference with “Occupy Wall Street” where we will display graffiti art work of the students on the theme of the congress.
With that the pre-events came to end on 4th March with parallel sessions of a special lecture by Professor Jayanti Ghosh on ‘Gender and Globalization’, screening of ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’ followed by discussion with Anand Patwardhan and ‘Paper Presentation on Gender and Sports’ by Meenakshi Pahuja.
Jayanti Ghosh concluded her talk stating, “I always enjoy coming to Lady Shri Ram College. It is always nice to interact with an intelligent bunch of girls who make me feel positive about the future.”
Patwardhan’s analysis of caste on the other hand helped reflect the gendered caste nature setting a theme for the “GenderKnowledge” with special mentions like the brutal Khairlanji Rape Case.
Bilingual knowledge was also witnessed with a Special Lecture by Dr. Kanchana Natrajan on “The Question of Gender in Hindi Literature” giving a perfect prelude to the academic congress.
The pre-events ended with the declaration that the United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon will be sending his message of solidarity through Ms. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) tomorrow for the Gender Congress on the occasion of International Women’s Day!