Research (an overview)


1. Understanding Change in Gender Relations in New Middle Class in India

The project aims to study gender relations in the metropolitan cities of India by examining socio-cultural trends of the new middle class. This is being be done by undertaking extensive field work in three metropolitan cities of India- Delhi-NCR, Mumbai- Pune, Kolkata. The focus of this study is on the new middle class, the trend setters, and socially the most upwardly mobile category. Though, this class is not the exact prototype, it can emulate some global gender trends.
The Centre had
organised an International Seminar with Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla under the theme.
Book based on the seminar was released on 9th May, 2017.
Under the project, data from Delhi-NCR  &  Kolkata (partial) has been collected.

Project Mall: A Gendered Space has been completed.


1. Mall: A Gendered Space (2016)

WSDC has completed the project, “Mall: A Gendered space”. Report of the project has been printed and a short film based on the visual data collected has been made. The short film was made with collaboration with Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi-1.

WSDC had undertaken this project in an attempt to further its research and focus on the broader topic of the New Middle Class in India. The Mall project was started in February, 2016 with training sessions for those involved in the project. The project involved intensive field work at the DLF Promenade Mall, at Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. It was concluded in December, 2016 with the completion of the written report and a short film based on the research findings.

2. Marriage, Autonomy and Engendered Violence: A study of North West India (2014)

The project collected data from four states – Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan with the help of local coordinators who work at the grass roots.

The study showed that ‘honour killing’ is spread in the Western UP and Jat dominated districts of Haryana; whereas in Punjab and in Rajasthan it is spread over all regions. In Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh it is the land owing community that mostly indulge in this crime. Sagotra marriage, marriage in same village and inter-caste marriages and even class had been the major reasons for ‘honour killings’; where as in Rajasthan issue had been of free choice in marriage, which hardly had been resulting in killings. Inter-caste marriages, though, had been resulting in major wrath against dalits in Rajasthan.

Local police mostly is hand in gloves in perpetuating the tradition. Case after case it showed that police is partial and uses such occasion to take bribe.

It is the voluntary women’s groups that provide sustained support to victims and their families. Their networks come to the rescue of victims. Victims are hardly aware of their rights and whom to contact in case of threat.

‘Honour killings’ establish utter subjugation of women. Family members of women can kill their own daughter in cold blood indicate the extreme asymmetry of power in gender relations in the agricultural dominated economy in which women have no property control.

3. Gender and Decision Making Power in the Public arena: a Comparative Study of India and Sri Lanka. Funded by Indo-Sri-Lanka Foundation (2014)

The project has been successfully completed and the report of the project has been submitted to the Indo-Sri Lanka Foundation. A team of three member visited Sri Lanka in 2013 to complete the fieldwork there. The report is divided in total seven chapters out of which four are findings based chapters, which include the narratives of gendered experiences at the decision making positions, locating absence of women at the top, networking and morality and work-life balance. The study indicates that there has been very slow inclusion of women at the decision making positions in both the countries and the work-environment is still very men-centred. However, along with the same the measures to overcome the gender inequality in the public arena were also discussed and analyzed. Broadly the suggestions indicated that policies should not be aimed towards helping women to adapt to a male-centred work environment but rather discourage gender stereotyping at the workplace of all kinds. Keeping all these measures in perspective, there can be an attempt to make the higher decision making positions, gender sensitive and gender inclusive.

4. Gender Audit of Delhi University (2010-11).

The study reviewed effective gender mainstreaming in policies, programs and structure of Delhi University and assessed the extent to which such policies had been institutionalized using purposive sampling of 75 teachers across the departments of the University. Focused group discussions were also conducted with women day scholars as well as with the hostellers. The study also examined the representation of women at different levels of the University and their understanding of gender perspective identifying gaps for improvement and suggests possible strategies to make the university system more gender sensitive and gender friendly.

5. Gender in School Education: Curriculum and Practices- A Comparative Study of India and Sri Lanka. (2010-11).

This Comparative Study of India and Sri Lanka examined how gendered ideology is being transmitted through curriculum and practices in school. The findings of the study suggested that gender stereotype has been toned down in the NCERT school text books in India. However, gender stereotype is still prevalent in school text books in Sri Lanka. The study also found that teaching is perceived as a feminine job by the students in the countries.

6. Domestic Violence: A Study with Special Reference to Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (2010).

WSDC conducted a study of cases of domestic violence reported to Delhi courts after the PWDV Act, 2005 was implemented. The study mapped legal intervention on cases of domestic violence that were reported to various Delhi Courts. The objectives of the study were to find out which class, caste groups are using this law, educational qualification and work status of the litigants,  course of action adopted to take to law, to what extent they had achieved the purpose, kinds of violence reported, intensity of reported violence, were the litigants familiar with functionaries of the law? What had been their litigation experience? Was the law helpful? The study found that the law was mostly being used by people from the lower socio-economic background of Delhi. The litigants mostly were young and they welcomed such a law.

7. Assessment of Attitudinal Difference towards Girl Child in Selected Districts of North India. (2007-2008).

The study evaluated different aspects of the attitudinal difference towards the girl child in the six states of Northern India, namely, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi. The different aspects the study focused on were: education, health and over all social status. The study established that attitudinal differences for the girl child exist in these states with varying intensity.

8. Strategies to Operationalise Legislation on Domestic Violence against Women: India and the United Kingdom (2006)

The study was undertaken by faculty of WSDC in collaboration with faculty, of Law Department, Warwick University, United Kingdom. The objective of the study was to understand the role of women’s organizations in India and England in bringing out issue of domestic violence to the public arena. The study also focused on understanding the contributions of these organizations towards the development of strategies and management of these initiatives to address domestic violence. The study found out that legal and civil remedies to domestic violence are formally available to both Indian and British women, but the socio-economic context for their implementation differs significantly in both the countries, bringing out different country specific issues. This project was sponsored by British Council, New Delhi.

9. Developing Indian Perspectives on Feminist Theory (2005)

Most of the feminist studies in India are empirically based in India, but are well-informed only by western feminist theories which have resulted into gaps in knowledge and policy advocacy several levels. Hence the study focused on developing Indian perspectives into Feminist Theory by reconsidering the key terms like patriarchy, gender, equality, family, community, sexuality etc., while developing suitable methodologies. The project was sponsored by Department of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource, Government of India

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