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Women’s Studies and Development Centre of Advanced Study (WSDC), University of Delhi, was established in 1987 as a response of the University of Delhi to the call from the University Grants Commissions (UGC) to address women’s concerns in higher education. Since then, WSDC has covered a long distance by expanding its programmes and activities. WSDC has been recognized as an Advanced Centre of Study by the UGC in 2016.
During the last thirty one years it has been guided and nurtured by eminent women professors as Directors, who brought in their subject expertise to women’s studies. Prof. Susheela Kaushik, the Founder-Director belonged to the discipline of Political Science. Prof. Malashri Lal, who followed as the second director, was a Professor of English. The third director, Prof. Vibha Chaturvedi was grounded in theoretical concepts as she was formally trained in the subject of Philosophy. Fourth director of the centre was Prof. Sushma Batra from the field of Social Work. The fifth director was Prof. Madhu Vij, Professor of Finance from the Faculty of Management Studies. The sixth director of the centre, Prof. Bharati Baveja, was from the Department of Education and excelled in pedagogy and the psychology of teaching. Prof. Jaya S. Tyagi, WSDC’s present director, has contributed significantly to gender debates in the field of History.
WSDC’s journey with these directors has been very enriching and diversified as a result of the diverse input provided by them. Dr. Manjeet Bhatia, the permanent faculty at the Centre has provided innovation and continuity to the Centre.
The Centre has made long strides in the direction of teaching, research and action. It has made an impact in introducing gender studies as a critical component of higher education and in raising awareness on women’s issues
The centre runs short term courses and UGC refresher courses in Women’s Studies. As a result of its sustained efforts, Women’s Studies’ modules were gradually introduced in Social Sciences and Humanities Departments. WSDC regularly convenes national and international seminars on contemporary gender studies issues. Recently attention is being drawn by the WSDC on Gender and the Emerging New Middle Class through its major project on this theme.
WSDC has been granted the Centre for Advanced Studies status by the UGC after an interface and presentation for the UGC Standing Committee on Women’s Studies in November, 2015. The interface involved discussion and presentation around WSDC’s proposed project titled The New Middle Class in India.
WSDC networks with local, national and international institutions along with intra and inter university bodies. Right from the early years of its inception, the centre has taken up several research projects along with the national research project on girl child in collaboration with 22 other UGC women’s studies centres.
The Centre has played an active role on the issue of sexual harassment at the University. It had actively coordinated and contributed to the University’s framing of the policy against sexual harassment and implementing it.