Around 10,000 higher education institutes, including both colleges and universities, will be allowed to start women’s studies courses by the University Grants Commission (UGC), with the regulatory body providing funding to the tune of Rs 25 lakh per year, and Rs 35 lakh per year, to colleges and universities with such programmes, respectively, reports Hindustan Times.
Both teaching and research activities relating to women’s issues will be monitored by the UGC as per the plan, with another aim being to promote female entrepreneurship. Field research into subjects such as women leadership, gender gap analysis, the inclusion of women in socio-economic development, etc. will be promoted through the women’s studies departments at higher education institutes.
Women’s participation in the economy is a major issue which the UGC move aims to tackle. India has a very low labour force participation rate for women, at 27 per cent, against 33 per cent in Bangladesh and 61 per cent in China.
The gender pay gap also remains substantial, as female workers in India on average earn 19 per cent less compared to their male counterparts. The socio-economic realities in India which cause such a situation to exist will be studies under the initiative.