The improvement of women’s position in society has been one of the great success stories of India in the past ten years. A social revolution is taking place wherein women are drawing themselves into efforts to shape the nation.
At the Australia India Institute we have been thinking intensely about this revolution from the perspective of our core themes of education, health, infrastructure, and governance and security – and often thinking comparatively across India and Australia.
Professor Srila Roy presented at the Aii recently on the role of the feminist movement in pushing forward India’s social revolution since the 1970s. From a contemporary perspective, Aii Fellow Dr Jane Dyson is examining how the Indian Government’s emphasis on gender empowerment, alongside greater access to secondary schooling, is heightening women’s participation in civil society in a remote region of Himalayan India. Aii New Generation Network (NGN) scholars Dr Amanda Gilbertson and Dr Amy Piedalue have focused on the media, showing how newspapers’ representations of different communities shape public understandings of gender violence.
Much of the Aii’s work on gender issues is strongly applied. NGN scholar Dr Jeff Redding has been exploring how India is changing the global discussion in transgender rights with reference to recent legal change by the Indian Supreme Court. Dr Amanda Gilberston is working with colleagues in the Asia Education Foundation and the Victorian Government on an important two-way Women in Leadership program involving school principals in Australia and India.
The collective contribution of these studies is to highlight the dynamism of India’s fight for gender justice and the challenges that remain.