The UGC sponsored National Seminar on ‘Feminism’ held on Mar. 23 at St. Philomena’s College reconfirmed the view that gender discrimination and harassment of women must be rooted out.

Speaking after inaugurating, Prof. Vanamala Viswanatha of Azim Premji University highlighted the singular contribution of Akka Mahadevi in her Vachana Sahitya. She quoted the statistics of the National Crime Bureau according to which sexual harassment complaints registered rose from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011. She urged for including feminist studies in formal education to fight this deep rooted evil.

Prof. Laxmi Chandrashekhar, Theatre activist, cited the example of Lady Macbeth to show how she was relegated to the background and suffered Insomnia and privations just because she strove to achieve what all women desired and ultimately become alienated and lonely.

Prof. S.M. Mangala, Director, Women’s Studies, University of Mysore, exposed how society sows the seeds of discrimination based on gender even through primary school textbooks.

Prof. Rajendra Chenni argued that to remain a strong feminist is tight rope walking as no one can critically write about the predicament of Muslim women. In several cases, it is in the hands of fanatics and getting coloured by their prejudices. He quoted from two translations of Tamil novelists Bama and Shivakami to bring out the boldness in the new Tamil writing.

Prof. TRS Sharma from the Institute of Advanced Studies from Shimla, questioned the role of NGOs and institution that wink at the ruthless sexual harassment of women both in small screen and the cinema.

Prof. C.P. Ravichandra spoke about Vandana Shiva’s initiatives and theories regarding eco-feminism. Prof. Rameshvari Varma demanded action to fight patriarchy and institutionalise practices that encouraged exploitation of women.

The seminar held in collaboration with Department of Women Studies, University of Mysore, attracted over 150 delegates and 30 scholarly papers covering issues ranging from Draupadi in Mahabharatha to feminist view of Australian Aborigines.

The forenoon saw five parallel sessions presided by Prof. Nirmala C. Prakash, Prof. L.S. Shankara Swamy, Prof. Clement, Prof. Mangala and Prof. Punidavalli.

The seminar concluded with a solo show on exploitation of women performed by Prof. Laxmi Chandrashekhar. Fr. Leslie Moras, Principal, presided. Prof.Ayesha Haque compered. An exhibition of portraits of Women Celebrities named ‘Women who became Legends,’ a private collection of Prof. B.N. Balajee was open to public on the day of the seminar at the College.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore