Women Centred Social Work


Introduction :

The Center for Women Centered Social Work emerged out an evolutionary process in 2015. Since 2007 the Centre members were an integral part of the Centre for Equity for Women Children and Families since 2007. This Centre has done some pioneering work on women and children’s issues and actively engaged with engendering curriculum within the School. Field Action Projects like Childline, Meljol and Special Cells for Violence against Women evolved and became independent national and state level programmes. These experiences and programmatic interventions fed into curriculum development on women and children’s issues. Meanwhile across the Institute and School of Social Work discussions were also happening with regard to intensifying curriculum as well as field action on women’s issues. With the restructuring of the school in 2006, the School designed the MA Social Work curriculum in a manner wherein the first year courses remained generic but in the second year the students had the option of selecting different thematic concentrations in the two semesters. The concentration on Women Centred Practice was conceptualised and offered to second year Social Work students since 2007. The experiences of the concentrations as well as regular feedback from the students led the School of Social Work to evaluate the format of the MA programmes. It was felt that the thematic concentrations needed deeper engagements with the students and it would enhance the quality of theory, perspective, skills and intervention training. This led to the final conceptualisation of the MA programme on Women Centred Practice.


Mandate of the Center :

The Centre’s core mandate is to enhance interventions and work on women’s issues. Women’s issues have been studied extensively and there continues to be consistent engagement on understanding their condition, position and status and their relationship with men, resources and power in society. A large body of knowledge on women’s issues is available for critically understanding and developing effective feminist interventions at multiple levels. Within social work epistemology and praxis, there is thus an imperative to include the realities of women – in particular women centred social work. This would mean an understanding of feminist theorizations, praxis models, praxis trajectories in the global and indigenous contexts and developing appropriate skills for analysis. Critical to this is the contextual shifts in the lives of women with globalisation and socio-economic changes, which have impacted the construction women’s labour, sexuality, fertility, kinds of violence and political participation. The Centre believes that there is a need for ongoing review of the impact of changing sectoral State policies on women’s lives, engagement with these policies and programs and also with the state and judiciary in defining women’s position in society. Hence it engages in researches, advocacy and engagement with different stakeholders especially women, state and judiciary in consistent efforts to engender these spaces and ensure gender equity.


Teaching :

1. Programme: MA Women Centred Practice (WCP), which has women’s issues as it core component. Since women in India is not a single category and varied social and economic stratification inform and impact their lives differently, the endeavour throughout the programme is to enable students to locate the specificities of experiences of women’s lives and gather rigorous aptitude and skills for feminist praxis at the individual, community, institutional (including state and market) levels.

2. The key objectives of the programme are:

a.To understand and critically examine women’s position in society from diverse feminist theoretical    frameworks.
b.To understand approaches and strategies required to develop women's agency and citizenship
c.To begin a process of reflection and rethinking on equity for women in relation to self.
d.To integrate gender perspective into social work practice.
e.To develop judicious skills of intervention with women.

Women as a category of analysis have increasingly been studied to evolve an understanding of their condition, position and status and their relationship with men, resources and power in society. With the evolution of gender studies and a critical understanding of women’s position, a large body of knowledge is now increasingly available to understand the issues, as well as for developing effective interventions at different levels.

The programme aims to prepare and equip its graduates to directly work with people ― women in particular ― in their communities, movements and campaigns; in organisations initiated by civil society and the state; with issues and concerns of oppressive social structures, development and state at the local, national and international level; within systems and institutions of governance and the state. The programme envisages its graduates performing the multiple roles of social worker, activist, design and implement programmes, coordinator, researcher and educator.