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Women’s Studies Conferences

The decision to organise women studies Conferences stemmed from the belief that women in Pakistan have been contributing to and involved in Women’s Studies but most initiatives have been fragmented and restricted to the social sciences. ASR/IWSL has always considered Women’s Studies to multidisciplinary and a coming together of individual and collective expressions in relation to women, their relationship to development and their creativity.

The three Women’s Studies Conferences were held in 1994 and 1995. Over 200 women wrote papers for the three Conferences and over 1500 women (and some men) came together from across Pakistan. In addition, an estimated 15000 people were mobilised in these events as participants, organisers, volunteers/helpers, viewers, spectators and observers of the open day presentation; debates; discussions; multimedia art exhibition; theatre; continuous film and book festival; the Urdu poetry recitation; musical evenings; prose readings; dance performances; art slide show; the opening and closing ceremonies, and a candle-lit street demonstration against violence against women. As much of the news coverage suggests, these were considered pioneering, ambitious, exciting, inclusive, holistic events in Pakistan

In March 2001, ASR organized the second Transdisciplinary Women’s Studies Conference along the lines of the ASR Women’s Studies Conference held in 1994. The aim was to extend the definition of Women’s Studies by bringing together Pakistani and South Asian women’s opinions and ideas on national issues, policies, writings, fiction, activism, artistic and cultural expression. The IWSL brought together 160 Pakistani, South Asian, French, Afghan and US Based scholars in a Five- day conference in Lahore.

Other conferences organized by ASR and the IWSL include: a National/Regional Conference on Peace: “Together We Stand” in June 2002; A Two-day Conference on “Strength in Voices” from 22nd –23rd March 2005; and a National Conference on Women’s Studies in 2006; a Conference “Azadi Agar Chahtay Ho….Mil Kar Chalo” in April 2007 and the multidimensional conference on the women’s movement ‘A Celebration of Women: In Struggle Together’ in 2013. The following details are of those specific to Women’s Studies:

Women’s Studies Conferences

Sr # Title Date Number of Participants
1. ‘A Celebration of Women’ Interdisciplinary Women Studies Conference Themes of the Conference: Issues of IdentityWomen and LiteratureWomen and CreativityWomen’s MovementWomen and Development Other simultaneous activities: Art Exhibition, film festival, book festival, theatre festival, feminist Mushaira etc. 21 – 25 March, 1994 200 participants in Academic part   5 – 6 Resource person in each workshop       Total Number of participants is 2000  
2. ‘A Making of Meaning’ Second Transdisciplinary Women Studies Conference Themes of the Conference: Women’s Studies: The personal is politicalWomen Constructed, Women ReconstructedCrafty Women; women and Art, Rethinking the boundariesA Voice of Her Own: Cultural Representation and Literature/ PoetryWomen and peace, Women and ConflictDiscussion on the relationship of Women’s Studies and Women’s Movement 24 – 28 March, 2001 161 National and International participants from Pakistan and from South Asia, France and USA.
3. Women’s Studies Conference Presentations: The State of the Discipline of Women’s Studies in PakistanCurriculum development issues in Gender EducationResearch Methods in Pakistan: Sensitivity to Identity Issues, Learning Practices & social scienceA Study on the Impact on Peasant Women of Transnational corporations Hegemony on the Seed MarketIndia Shining – A Reading from BollywoodMyths and realities women challenged to make a place in the society. 08 March, 2006 200 – 300
4. Weaving wisdom, Confronting crisis, Forging the Future- Moving Forward Together 30 April – 1st May 2010 250
5. National Consultation on Moving Forward Together   10- 11 September 2011 300
6. ‘A Celebration of Women: In Struggle Together’ Presentations: Affirmative Action and Representation Towards a National Plan of Action on Women Peace and Security The Women’s Movement: from the inside looking outCreative/Cultural Articulations: Presentation/Panel discussion/Debate/Analysis:  Literature; Poetry; Translation; PublishingIntensive Discussions on Resurgent Patriarchies 10 – 12 February 2013 250 – 300