Gender, Education and Inequality: Pandemic and the Present Times

A workshop co-organised by Max Weber Forum for South Asian Studies, New Delhi,  University of Glasgow, School of Education and Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta on 13 November 2021 at 14:30-18:15 IST.

It is funded by ESRC/GCRF project Can Dual Apprenticeships Create Better and More Equitable Social and Economic Outcomes for Young People? A Comparative Study of India and Mexico (2018-21) (A collaboration of University of Glasgow, School of Education, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Monterrey Institute of Technology, Mexico, University of Cologne, Germany, University of Zurich, Switzerland).

The speakers are:
Saikat Maitra & Sadaf Sethwala, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta
Nandini Manjrekar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Manish Jain, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University Delhi
Rebecca lpe, University of Glasgow
Yamini Agarwal, Max Weber Forum for South Asian Studies, New Delhi
Geetha B.Nambissan, Professor (Retd.), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Srabani Maitra, University of Glasgow

The event will be a hybrid event involving both online (via zoom) and in-person participation.

New Directions in Gender, Education and Poverty

A Roundtable Discussion
24 June 2021, 11.30 – 12.30 (UK time)/ 16:00-17:00 (IST) 

Organised by Dr Srabani Maitra, Dr Sebastian Schwecke, Dr Saikat Maitra 

This roundtable was organised by the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office (MWS IBO), New Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) to engage with research on gender, education and poverty by both senior and early career academics. 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and adoption of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), seek to incorporate and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental (UNESCO, 2017). Concomitant with this, is the emphasis on the critical role of equitable access to education (SDG4) for sustainable development and transformative change.  

Over the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education and school enrolment rates at all levels, particularly for girls. Nevertheless, some 750 million adults – two thirds of them women – remained illiterate in 2016 (United Nations, 2021) and about 260 million children were still out of school in 2018 — nearly one fifth of the global population in that age group (UNESCO, 2021). Poverty remains a significant constraint for women’s educational attainment. Moreover, how poverty impacts women’s education is complicated by multiple social and cultural contexts.  

This roundtable brought together researchers from the global South and the North to foreground new directions exploring the intersections of gender, education and poverty.  

Areas of focus 

  • Historical trajectories 
  • Socio, economic and cultural dimensions 
  • Policy formulations 
  • Digitalisation 
  • Inclusion and sustainable development 

Prof Ellen Boeren, Research Director, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Barbara Read, Reader, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Srabani Maitra, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Saikat Maitra, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Management Group, IIMC
Prof Parimala Rao, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Prof Nandini Manjrekar, Professor, School of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai
Dr Manish Jain, Associate Professor, School of Education Studies, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, New Delhi
This was an online event.

Legacies of Feminism in Germany and India

A Roundtable Discussion
19 March 2021 (1 pm GMT/ 2 pm CET/ 6:30 pm IST)

This was an online event organised by the Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office and the International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment at the German Historical Institute London.

Postcolonial feminists and feminists of colour have long sought to complicate the history and study of feminism. Social scientists and feminist theorists like Chandra Mohanty, Kumari Jayawardena and Kimberlé Crenshaw have drawn attention to the simultaneity and intersecting nature of oppression and marginalization. They show that women’s inequality is deeply entangled with other forms of oppression and structures of power, including colonialism, capitalism, racism, homophobia and ableism. By drawing attention to the differences between women, they challenge a homogeneous definition of womanhood, instead showing how categories like race and sexuality have produced different experiences of gendered marginalization. In turn, they contest a vision of feminism based on supposedly universal emancipatory politics. In place of broad, universalizing categories that stem from the experiences of white, western women, these scholars reveal the manifold meanings of feminism and women’s emancipation across time and space, and highlight the importance of situating feminist movements and interventions within their specific historical and geographic contexts.

Building on this scholarship, this roundtable evaluated the historical legacies of feminist activism in two very different contexts: Germany and India. By bringing together the diverse trajectories of women’s rights activism in India and Germany, the roundtable sought to critically examine the meaning and history of feminism. What different kinds of periodization do we find if we move away from the Western-centred genealogy of feminist waves? How has the meaning of feminism changed across different political, social and historical contexts? How has women’s activism in the past shaped how we think about feminism and women’s rights today? And how has feminist activism intersected with other rights-based movements and issues, including decolonization, race and ethnicity, labour, LGBTQ rights, the rights of children and disability?

Featuring scholars from India, Germany and the UK, the panel asked what the historically and geographically diverse legacies of feminism mean for the shared political project of women’s rights today and how have feminists negotiated the push and pull of political change?

Helma Lutz
, Goethe Universität Frankfurt
Janaki Nair, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Samita Sen, University of Cambridge
Paula-Irene Villa, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

The International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment is part of the international project “Knowledge Unbound: Internationalisation, Networking, Innovation in and by the Max Weber Stiftung.” It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

Summer School: Making and Un-Making Worlds of Coercion and Confinement




Max Weber Stiftung (India Branch Office) and Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
12-16 September 2022

The Max Weber Stiftung (MWS), India Branch Office serves as a bridge between German, Indian, and international scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. One of its main emphases is on the study of South Asian and transregional histories. The winter schools of the India Branch Office bring together graduate students and experienced scholars within an informal and lively environment aimed at exploring the worlds of South Asian societies and cultures in history and in the present, and using the experience of this exploration as a starting point for new ventures and departures in scholarly discourse.

The Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) is a research cluster within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments of Germany. It aims to overcome the binary opposition of “slavery versus freedom” by means of inter-disciplinary research focused on the concept of “asymmetrical dependency.”

The Summer School “Making and Un-Making Worlds of Coercion and Confinement”, organized by the Max Weber Stiftung – India Branch Office and the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, seeks to investigate how, across historical contexts, various forms of coercion and confinement were shaped and contested by multiple actors. In particular, it addresses three main themes:

Theme 1 – The spatiality of coercion – looks at the ways coercion was created at the crossroads of (forced or voluntary) spatial mobility and immobilization. The goal is to assess the interactions between coercion in specific sites (including worksites and sites of confinement) and dynamics of coercion in the social context at large. At the same time, we seek to understand the dialectics between mobility and immobilization as strategies of coercing, or as practices and strategies to enhance autonomy.

Theme 2 – Navigating coercion, constructing autonomy – takes the perspective of the coerced and looks into the practices and strategies by which they– individually and collectively – tried to minimize the impact of coercion, and expand their spaces of autonomy within and outside the specific sites of coercion.

Theme 3 – Intermediaries and labour coercion – foregrounds the role of intermediaries who were themselves coerced, in the production and reproduction of labour coercion. The concept of “intermediaries” is understood here in a broader sense, comprising all subjected people who acted as intermediaries in the process of recruitment, extraction of labour, or as enforcers of discipline; for example as overseers of work, guards in specific settings (plantations, manufactures, prisons, camps amongst others), being part of an inmate or labouring population.

The organizers are:
Michaela Dimmers, M.A., Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Göttingen, Germany,

Dr. Christian G. De Vito, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, Bonn, Germany,


Conference on Archiving, Recording and Representing Feminism: The Global History of Women’s Emancipation in the 20th Century

This virtual conference was the second meeting of the International Standing Working Group (ISWG) on Medialization and Empowerment
10-12 December 2020

Convenors: Christina von Hodenberg and Jane Freeland (German Historical Institute London)
Partners: Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office, German Historical Institute Washington DC, German Historical Institute Rome, Orient Institute Beirut
Conference Programme
For details click here.

A Discussion on the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

This was an online event organised jointly by DWIH and MWS IBO
14 October 2020

Moderator: Dr. Katja Lasch
Presentations by project partners of MWS IBO
Geetha B Nambissan (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Nandini Manjrekar (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)
Shivali Tukdeo (National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru)
Followed by Discussions and Question & Answers

Colloquium on Education and the Urban in India since the Nineteenth Century

This virtual colloquium was organised by the ‘Education and the Urban’ Research Group of Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office (MWS IBO)
24-25 September 2020

Convenors: Indra Sengupta (MWS IBO & German Historical Institute London), Debarati Bagchi (MWS IBO), Yamini Agarwal (MWS IBO)
Speakers: Akash Bhattacharya (Azim Premji University, Bengaluru), Nandini Manjrekar (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai), Debarati Bagchi (MWS IBO), Geetha Nambissan (Former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Yamini Agarwal (MWS IBO) and Shivali Tukdeo (National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru)

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