Dr. George Mathew, Director of the Institute for Social Studies, New Delhi called on BU's Women Studies Program. Here he is, at left, briefing Dr. Shahla Haeri, Director of WSP, on forthcoming activities hosted at his institute. These include a symposium to be convened on 24 April 2008, Women's Political Empowerment Day, on the topic of women, Panchayats (local governance bodies) and child rights. The Institute hosts a symposium annually on 24 April, to mark this date. On this day in 1993, the Government of India amended the Constitution, giving one-third of all seats in local bodies in the country to women. Dr. Mathew explained to Shahla and Dr. Brenda Gael McSweeney (pictured below), that since 1994 the Institute celebrates that day as Women's Empowerment Day with a focus on various crucial topics. Nearly 1,000 women attend each year to express solidarity and discuss common problems. The theme last year was HIV/AIDS, women and the role of Panchayats, while in 2006 the celebrations focused on Panchayats, water and sanitation. The Institute for Social Studies carries out research projects on local governance, women's studies, the environment and contemporary economic and political challenges, which mirror the issues most important to the UNESCO/UNITWIN on Gender, Culture and People-Centered Development.
Photo Credits: Brenda Gael McSweeney and Carla Pack-Bailey