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The Gender Studies Cell is a student’s initiative that aims to increase sensitivity among students around issues of gender and have meaningful conversations. Through this cell the students organise various lectures and talks on pertinent questions of law and gender.

Every year a student run body takes care of the activities at the centre. This year the following student formed a part of the committee:

  • Chandni Chawla – V BSL LLB
  • Sangh Rakshita – IV BSL LLB
  • Soham Goswami – IV BSL LLB
  • Sharanya Shivaraman – III BSL LLB
  • Meghna Kumar – III BSL LLB
  • Shreya Kunwar – II BSL LLB

The following activities were undertaken by the cell in the above – mentioned year:

  • Session on Gender and Psychobhobia – Mukul Inamdar, Center for Mental Health Law and Policy, ILS, Pune

Date: 31st August, 2016

A session was organized to discuss how popular ideas about gender and mental health shape collective thinking and public policies, facilitated by Mr. Mukul Inamdar. Demystifying the definitions of health, pathology and mental health issues, he proceeded to give the audience a background of the ‘Anti-psychiatry movement’ and the need for sensitivity to mental health issues and misconceptions about mental health issues. Mr. Inamdar then explained how everyday stereotypes against mental health issues gradually develop into psychophobia. This was followed by an interactive round with the audience on the resultant structural discrimination against persons with mental health issues.

These discussions invariably moved towards the interplay between psychophobia and gender discrimination in terms of the impact of biological sex on mental health, gender stereotyping in diagnosis of mental disorders, construction of gender deviant behaviour as a symptom of mental illness, impact of gender during treatment, etc. In conclusion, the students agreed that the current societal structures on the basis of set standards of sanity and conformism to stereotypes (related to gender as well as mental health) are to a detriment of persons with mental health issues.

  • Session on The Damsel in Distress and the Shining Knight with a Handgun – Bradley Dunseith, School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies from the University of Ottawa, Canada

Date: 12th of September, 2016

Bradley is a M.A. graduate whose Master’s thesis is titled “Good Guys”: the ethical lives of gun owners. He primarily spoke about the notion that only men (in today’s time armed with guns) can ‘rescue’ the woman during times of danger, and about men using the firearms believing it to be their ‘duty towards society’ for the protection of possible victims rather than as a defence or response to violent threats. It is their belief that women fall under the oblivious and innocent ‘sheep’ category who ought to be protected from the criminal i.e., the ‘wolves’, and such persons call themselves to be the ‘sheep dogs’. In other words, this is the situation wherein a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape and must be rescued by a male character; an excuse in the game of patriarchy

He spoke about  the lack of sufficient gun safety laws in the U.S.A that has been severely criticised across the nation, but on the same hand, there is a blatant and open portrayal advocating for the use (and purchase) of firearms by groups, politicians and scholars even to this day.about the increasing use / purchase of guns in a country with largely unregulated Gun Laws and the 2nd Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights which reads – “A well- regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

overall session was interactive and had a very good participation.

  • Session on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Law – Chandni Chawla, year V BSL LLB at ILS Law College

Date: 19th September 2017

This session was organized in collaboration with the Centre for International Law. Chandni Chawla was privileged to be 1 among 2 students chosen to attend a summer school on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) in International Law at the Grotius Centre for International Law, Leiden University. She started this session with a song on the “right to relate” which was a major crisis faced by people of diverse SOGI. Through this session, she spoke about the interplay of SOGI related issues with refugee law, criminal law, family law and anti – discrimination law.

She very elaborately discussed cases of international refugee law with the specific relation to people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity. She also discussed cases which she saw at the International Criminal Court and her experience there.  She closed her presentation with a very interesting family law case involving a lesbian couple and the custody of their child.

  • Inaugural Session for the 1st year students of LLB and B.A.LLB of ILS Law College.

Date: 10th December, 2016

The session began with a simple discussion on the basic differences between gender and sex, followed by the activity – breaking stereotypes. This activity involved assigning of certain characteristics by the students commonly perceived to be those of a particular sex. And then some light was thrown on how these are nothing but irrational stereotypes and it is not right to look at any sex as having certain traits or characteristics mutually exclusive to them.

Next, a nexus was drawn between Gender and Law and it was discussed that commonplace things like maternity leaves, marital laws, etc. are all unfortunately constructed on the false and fixed notions of gender. Further, great emphasis was laid on changing young mindsets and easily adapting to alterations happening in and around us, so as to bring about the winds of positive change in our society. 

After dealing with the aforementioned topics , a synopsis of all the recent judgments in this particular  field of law was presented by Sharanya Shivraman, following which were interesting  discussions on ‘triple talaaq’, Uniform Civil Code and the distinction between the terminologies- Feminism and Feminazi.

Thereafter, a screening of the first part of the movie – Bombay Talkies took place which highlighted the issues   and the stigma attached to sexual orientation of people in our society. The discussions that followed revolved around changing the existing social misconstructs.

The closing was done by Sharanya Kundu, and alumni of our college, who narrated real life incidents and problems she faced daily owing to her gender and the inequality prevalent all over in every walk of life based on the same.

The session and was attended by a large number of enthusiastic and interactive students.

  • Human Rights in Childbirth – Mrs. Shivani Sharma and Mrs. Zoe Quinn

Date: 16th January 2017

A session was conducted in collaboration with the organization ‘Human Rights in Childbirth’. Shivani Sharma a certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner (HypnoBirthing Institute, USA), mother of two believes that it is crucial for women stand up for themselves and choose the kind of birth they want. Her personal experience of gentle births inspires her to support families and guide them to birth their babies with ease and grace. Zoe Quinn is an American who had the pleasure of having midwifery care during the birth of her son. Even though she had worked with special needs children for years, she was pulled towards the profession of midwifery. Since then she have been working towards becoming a certified professional midwife and living her life with her family in a cob house outside Pune.

The session informed the students on multiple human rights issues related to child birth and maternity care. Shivani Sharma and Zoe Quinn oriented the Students on the various stakeholders involved in the process of childbirth – the care providers i.e. the doctors and the mid wives; the care receivers i.e. the pregnant women and their family; and the change makers i.e. the policy makers in this field. The session also focused on issues related to the right to physical integrity, self -determination, privacy rights, right to informed consent and most importantly the right to health of the stakeholders involved in child birth. The key question addressed was with respect to the benefits of institutionalized birth and whether the process of childbirth turns in to obstetric violence without human right considerations.

The session was followed by an informal discussion and all the participants returned with many doubts and apprehensions resolved.