Fellowships in Gender and Society
One of the legacies of the late Jagat Singh Mehta, former Trustee of Seva Mandir, was the inauguration of a fellowship to enable research in gender and society, a topic in which his late wife, Rama Mehta, was deeply interested and engaged.
The fellowship will promote research in the area of women’s development, enabling a better understanding of the changing situation of women and gender, especially amongst the vulnerable. This research is of clear significance against a background of worsening child sex ratios in Rajasthan, persistent rumours of child trafficking, high levels of domestic violence, and statistics confirming that women consistently lag behind men in terms of literacy, access to justice, financial independence and other indicators of equality.
The fellowship is awarded to two women for a period of between 3 months and 1 year, with a modest monthly stipend plus research expenses. The chosen fellows will be mentored by gender specialists at Seva Mandir. The research will consist of short primary-level studies conducted in Seva Mandir’s work area.
The first two fellows have been chosen from a field of 70 applicants and are carrying out research in Udaipur district.
The successful fellows
Reetika Subramanian (Master’s in Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai) was selected to conduct research on ‘Different Forms of Violence’ and her first month of research work involved investigating a reduction in incidences of domestic violence at Madri through the Women’s Resource Centre, and later researching types of violence and emerging or new forms of violence such as digital violence.
Mahira Sheikh (pursuing postgraduate studies in Urdu Literature), who worked with Seva Mandir-supported tuition centres in Udaipur slums, was granted a 3-month fellowship (since extended to the end of March 2016) for a study on ‘Understanding Sexual Violence especially threat of rape among girls and their families and its impact’. She began her research in November 2015 in two Udaipur slums (Rata Khet and Mullah Talai) and has so far documented 22 cases.