Jacqueline Bhabha (Professor, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health) will be in conversation with Neha J Hiranandani to discuss her book Girl Power: Indian Women Who Broke the Rules. The discussion will focus on the challenges young women still face when it comes to access to education and health while negotiating with the societal expectations. Keeping in with the theme of Neha Hiranandani’s Girl Power – a book about bringing forth the stories of ‘rebel women’ in India – it will ponder on the factors that contribute to the success of many who do break the mould, against the odds.
Can political representation help women upend entrenched systems of power? Property and Power, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, finds evidence that quotas improve women’s ability to claim fundamental economic rights. Yet, greater voice is costly, and whether women experience benefits or backlash will depend on individual bargaining power at the time a woman is elected.
Speaker: Rachel Brulé, Assistant Professor of Global Development Policy, Boston University
Moderator: Emmerich Davies, Assistant Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Engaging with India: Engaging with Feminism and the Passion of “The Before Midnight’s Children”
Speaker: Devaki Jain, Economist, Writer, and Recipient of the Padma Bhushan Award
The Harish C. Mahindra Lecture Series is given in honor of the late Harish C. Mahindra, a distinguished alumnus of Harvard College and a visionary leader of business and industry in India. The lecture is an important component in continuing the education and understanding of the challenges facing South Asia, and provides an ideal forum for the next generation of global leadership.
This year, Devaki Jain will be giving the Mahindra Lecture. Devaki Jain is an Indian economist and writer who has made significant contributions to feminist economics, social justice, and women’s empowerment in India. In 2006, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan — the third-highest civilian honor from the Government of India — for her contributions to society. In this lecture, she will weave her own personal story into the political story of India and discuss her engagement with public life, activism, and her current work in feminist economics.
A reception will follow the lecture. This event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Shenila Khoja-Moolji is Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College. Her work examines the interplay of gender, race, religion, and power in transnational contexts, particularly in relation to Muslim populations.
Dr. Khoja-Moolji is the author of Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia. She combines historical and cultural analyses with ethnography to examine the meaning of the “educated girl” figure in colonial India and postcolonial Pakistan. Through her work, she has deepened the scholarship on the evolving politics of educational reform and development campaigns. Dr. Khoja-Moolji argues that advocacy for women’s and girl’s education is not simply about access, but more concerned with producing ideal Muslim women and girls with specific relationships to patriarchy, paid work, Islam, and the nation-state. As such, the discourse on girl’s and women’s education also encompasses issues in class relations, religion, and the nation.
Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University
As part of our ongoing India Seminar Series, we are partnering with the Center on Gender Equity and Health, UC San Diego for a talk titled, ‘Gender, Violence and Vulnerabilities of Adolescents in India’ by Dr. Anita Raj, Tata Chancellor Professor of Medicine, Director of Center on Gender Equity & Health (Department of Medicine), UC San Diego. Dr. Raj will present research on adolescent risk for early marriage, family violence and sexual assault, and the role these have on mental health concerns for both adolescent girls and boys. Policy and program implications based on these findings will be discussed.
Nandita Das, Actor, Director, and Advocate of Social Issues
Cara Moyer-Duncan, Assistant Professor, Africana Studies, Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College
Moderator: Mukti Khaire, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Nandita Das is known to world audiences for her critically acclaimed performances as an actor in films like Fire, Earth, Bawander, and Before the Rains. Das will speak on her work that addresses social issues in the South Asia context, with particular focus on gender issues.
Cara Moyer-Duncan was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies while completing field research. Her work is on culture, art, and social change, with a particular focus on Africa.
Sharmila Murthy, Assistant Professor of Law, Suffolk University; Visiting Scholar, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard Kennedy School
Ramnath Subbaraman, Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Research Advisor, Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR), Mumbai, India
Subhadra Banda, Research Associate, Centre for Policy Research; MPP Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
As India looks to position itself as a global leader, it also bears the ignominious status as being the open defecation capital of the world. Of the 2.5 billion people in the world who still lack access to adequate sanitation, nearly one-third live in India. Tragic events last summer in rural India further raised awareness of access to toilets as a women’s issue. Drawing on their experiences in urban and rural India, Professor Murthy, Dr. Subbaraman and Ms. Banda will explore the challenges of improving access to sanitation on the sub-continent, addressing the public health, gender, policy and legal dimensions of this complicated issue.
Jennifer Leaning, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights; Director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Jacqueline Bhabha, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health; Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer, Harvard Law School; University Adviser on Human Rights Education; Director of Research, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights
Brian Heilman, Gender and Evaluation Specialist at the International Center for Research on Women.