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Dr. Umme Busra Fateha Sultana

Greetings from the Department of Women and Gender Studies!The Department of Women and Gender Studies, at the University of Dhaka is an interdisciplinary programme that provides pedagogical trainings on developing critical perspectives on women’s rights, and encourages the knowledge production with regards to women/gender issues in the contexts of both academia and activism. Since its institutional establishment in 2000, the Department has grown in terms of its course offerings both at under graduate and post graduate levels, faculty involvement, and visibility through academic contributionsat theDhaka University campus. The faculties of the Department are trained nationally and internationally, having the exposure to global academic standard.This helps to enrich the mutual learning process respecting the relationships between teachers and students. As one of the pioneer departments to offer courses under a semester system, the Department already has gained a commendable position in the Faculty of Social Sciences in terms of providing quality education, the timely holding of classes and examinations, giving priority to student’s needs, and assessing as well as monitoring the academic progress of the students.

Besides the curricular activities, the Department has shown its excellence inconducting different national as well as international research and publications, disseminating through organizing seminars, lecture series, and conferences. It regularlycelebrates and endorses both national and international significant days and agendas and buildsnetworks with various institutions across the world. Within a short span of its establishment, the Department managed to run a five years long multifaceted collaborative project (from 2005-2009) with the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Netherlands,with financial support from the Royal Netherlands Embassy. There were other collaborations and networking both at national and international level which have enriched the Department as a distinguished one at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Dhaka University. The Department’smaingoal is to transform the “traditional” ways of knowingand thinking, by challenging the gendered power relations and disparities as the codifier of knowledge. This Department introduces and equips the students with different processes of understanding how gender discrimination impacts the everyday lives of both men, women and other gender orientations, having implications on the socio-economic and political development of a nation. Thus, the Department attempts to changethe patriarchal knowledge system in order to question the biased socio-economic structure by promoting gender justice and equality through its curriculum,teaching-learning process, research and other academic activism.

The Department has already published a good number of books and working papers. A specialized library named Najma Chowdhury Resource Centrehas been set up by the Department after the name of its founding Chair, which contains a rich collection of books, periodicals, journal articles and visual materials on women/gender-related components. The collection is extremely rich as more than 5500 entries of books and journals are to be found at the library. The air-conditioned library has a capacity to provide quiet sitting space to 40 readers at a time and is assisted by a librarian. The computer laboratory of the Department is well equipped with 10 computers, onephotocopier machine and twomultimedia projectors for the students and faculties. The students andfaculties of the department have access to fiber optics broadband Internet and Wi-Fi facilities with an independent domain, which contributes in facilitatingvirtual communications and gatheringof information for academic purposes.

The Department of Women and Gender Studies has all the potentials to engage in making a difference in the broader arena of social and cultural domain, ranging from personal to political - towards ensuring gender equality, equity and justice.