On Friday 17, 2023, the Department of Mass Communication at Patna Women’s College
organised a guest lecture on ‘Combating gender stereotypes in the development sector’. The
lecture was delivered by Prof. Shivani Nag, assistant professor, school of education studies at the
Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Ms. Nag threw light on the various facets involving concept of gender and gender stereotyping
during the lecture. She talked about an expansive area of gender stereotypes ranging from the
concept of schemas to the factors that lead to the destruction of self, especially in women.
She enlightened the students on how even the development sector is responsible for the extension
of gendered role assigned to the women. Even the social sector schemes, such as ASHA and
USHA schemes include marginalised women under the pretext that women are more nurturing as
compared to men. ” Sectors end up playing on the stereotypes for their own benefits”, said Nag.
Sharing anecdotes from her own student life, Nag talked about the ‘feminization’ of certain fields
of education. Her experience in field work, while researching, revealed lack of female friendly
public spaces and inadequate infrastructures.
Nag also discussed her area of specialisation, education and psychology. She expressed concerns
on the paradoxical nature of the New Education Policy, 2020. She explained how the rapid
privatisation of school and at the same time provision of shutting government schools is
problematic. It means that government schools are lacking in imparting quality education.
Furthermore, she pointed out how freedom of women is curtailed in the name of safety which
was just a manifestation of fear of choice rather than safety.
During the Q&A session, students asked Ms. Nag number of questions regarding gender
stereotypes in private and public spaces. Ms. Nag answered questions on internalised sexism and
consent. At the end she urged the students to be each other’s allies and promote solidarity.
Ms. Divya Gautam, asst professor, delivered the vote of thanks. Ms. Gautam ended her address
by emphasising the need to understand the importance of more visibility of women in public
space, consent and inter personal communication.