CWDS is committed to the concept and practice of inter-disciplinary and reflexive research from a gender perspective. CWDS faculty is engaged in research and scholarship within their respective research domains. Although the Centre’s research areas are defined by the specific competencies and interests of individual faculty members, CWDS continues to engage with new, different and emerging fields of inquiry in the form of in-house research seminars by visiting scholars and researchers.
Action research has been among the Centre’s focus areas. Combining women’s grassroots empowerment with enhanced livelihood skills, the action-research project facilitated, for instance, rural women agency in shaping individual and community life in West Bengal. The Centre’s action research projects demonstrated that grassroots women’s organizations – though far removed from institutions of higher education – can be partners in the production of knowledge regarding women’s lives and struggles.
Advocacy and Networking
CWDS is a founding member of various networks including the Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS), Forum for Creche and Child Care Services (FORCES) and the National Network of Women’s Organizations based in Delhi. The Centre is an institutional member of the Delhi Library Network (DELNET) and INDEV, an electronic network on development information. CWDS organizes and facilitates advocacy programs on issues such as the rights of children, reservations for women, the right to food, the rights of forest people, population policy, legal reform, etc.
Teaching Women’s Studies
In 2012 CWDS formalized a teaching collaboration with B.R. Ambedkar University (AUD), Delhi. Faculty from both institutions share teaching and supervision in the AUD-CWDS Women and Gender Studies (WGS) M.Phil and PhD program. The Centre’s teaching collaboration with AUD serves to complement and augment the research of individual CWDS faculty. It also provides the Centre with an institutional and intellectual space for engaging with research concerns, theory, methodology and pedagogical practice with academics, scholars, students and researchers within a wider university setting.
Library and Information Services
The CWDS library is a specialized resource centre housing one of the most comprehensive collections of published and unpublished material on women in India, gender theory and gender-related scholarship in varied scholarly domains such as politics, economics, history, anthropology etc. The CWDS collection includes books, journals, conference documents, newsletters and an extensive corpus of newspaper clippings. The library also provides a range of regular information services include the monthly Current Awareness Service Bulletin, the Library Reading List Series, a listing of contents of contemporary periodicals and analytical content alert service, and thematic bibliographies on specific gender-related issues.
CWDS faculty publications appear regularly in the form of books, book and/or journal articles, reports and monographs. Research work or CWDS research projects appear in edited form as CWDS Occasional Papers or monographs. CWDS produced the first women’s studies journal Samya Shakti (1988 – 1994) which was subsequently renamed The Indian Journal of Gender Studies (IJGS). IJGS is an in-house peer-reviewed international journal published three times a year by Sage Publications.
An increasing appreciation of the role of visual archives in enhancing an understanding of women’s changing roles and status in India led to the establishment of a photographic archive on women in the pre-independence period. Since its creation, this first national level photographic archive on women for the period 1875-1947 has taken on multiple forms, through a travelling exhibition, a series of calendars and a major book.
Seminars/ Conferences/ Workshops
A key function of the Centre is to engage in dialogue with academics, policy makers, activists and researchers through seminars, conferences and workshops. Towards this end, the CWDS regularly hosts and organizes seminars on specific research undertaken by CWDS faculty members, visiting academics and researchers. The Centre also collaborates with local and national institutions in holding joint workshops on areas of mutual concern and/or public policy issues.
(Re)presenting Indian Women 1875-1947 is a visual presentation highlighting modern India’s country’s multi-faceted history through a gender lens. It is an attempt to illustrate a visual history of women’s lives through women’s formal collections, personal albums and personal memorabilia. Since its creation this national level photographic archive on women for the period has assumed multiple forms by way of a travelling exhibition, a series of calendars, and a major book.
The Centre conducts short courses on Women’s Studies, Research Methodology and Training Courses for research/ post graduate scholars with support from the ICSSR. Short course topics have included among others, Gender and Development, Research in Social Sciences, Research Methodology, and Concepts and Debates in Women and Gender Studies.