Centre for Women’s Studies

The CWS has its genesis in 1987 with the goal of sensitizing and empowering the MCC Community towards gender issues and equity and orienting the community towards Gender Intelligence.

The pandemic COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown resulted in a ‘new normal format’ for the conduct of activities of the CWS. This year the focus was on Academic programs to enable the Centre to be developed into an academic centre true to its name- Centre for Women’s Studies. Hence the CWS focused on conducting a series of webinars under the umbrella theme of Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equity. Another unique feature introduced this academic year was to honour and commemorate the legacy of legendary women stalwarts of the Madras Christian College, who have contributed to women’s empowerment. Each of the webinars perpetuated their legacy.

The first of the Webinars held on August 4, 2020, had two resource persons – Prof. Dr. Sonajharia Minz, an alumna of MCC and currently Vice-Chancellor, SKM University, Dumka, Jharkhand on the topic ‘Women as Change Agents- A special focus on Education’. The second session had Ms. Nagako Okado from Japan as the resource person. She was the Chairperson of the Gender Equity Committee- Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCA’s and the English-Japanese Interpreter at British Embassy and Siesan University, Tokyo.

The second webinar in memory and honour of the former Professor Emeritus, Madras Christian College, Dr. Rani Siromoney was held on September 4, 2020. Dr. Jenice Jean Goveas of the DST- Centre for Policy Research, IISc, Bangalore delivered a lecture on the topic “Invisible Indian Women in STEAM”.

The third webinar held on October 6, 2020 had Ms. Ashwati C.K, ICSSR Fellow, Centre for South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi, deliver a lecture on the topic “Gender Issues and Indian Democracy- A Post-Colonial Narrative”. This webinar honoured the legendary Mrs. Alice Barnes of MCC.

The fourth webinar dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Isabella Braidwood, held on November 4, 2020 had Dr. Mrs. Mercy Pushpalatha, Program Consultant, South Asia Programs, UBCHEA and former Principal, Lady Doak College, Madurai, as the resource person. She enlightened us on the topic “A Woman Designed to Develop”.

The fifth Webinar on December 4, 2020 witnessed a lecture by Dr. Sridhar Krishnaswami, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science and Humanities, SRM Institute of Science and Technology on the topic “Women and Politics”. This Webinar was hosted in memory of the legacy left behind in MCC by Mrs. Margaret Locher Anderson. Each of the Webinars benifitted around 120 students and faculty.

The CWS collaborated with Staff Wives and Women Staff Association (SWAWSA) for a joint Christmas Celebration with the house-keeping staff of the college on December 21, 2020.

The CWS commemorated and celebrated the International Women’s Day with four varied programmes. This includes (i) Two-day online Capacity building workshop for the women students of the college on the topics Celebrating Womanhood by Ms. Reena John on February 25, 2021 and Equip and Empower: Future is Talent driven and not Gender driven by Mr. Kennedy Jeyseelan on February 26, 2021. Around 80 women students and faculty participated in this program, which was held in honour of Prof. Achamma Mathai, former Coordinator of the Centre for Women’s Studies and Rtd. Professor of Physics, MCC. (ii) Gender Sensitization through Legal Literacy, a talk by Adv. Manoj V George, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi on March 8, 2021. Around100 participants benefitted from this awareness programme.(iii) Capacity Building Certificate Course for the Empowering, Upskilling and Reskilling of the Non-teaching staff of Madras Christian College from March 1-12, 2021. This was an offline programme conducted in the Anderson Hall following Covid protocols. Hence 45 Non-teaching staff drawn from the various offices, Units and Departments of the college attended the sessions and Certificates were awarded. The Inaugural was graced by the Chief Guest Ms. Shanthi Ramesh, Founder Director of Vruksh and a JAYA TV Newsreader.  (iv) Distribution of 250 Cotton Masks by the CWS Tailoring Unit to the MCC RSL School.

The Tailoring Unit Thread and Tread reaches out to the MCC Community by conducting  tailoring and embroidery classes for our students with the help of a tailoring instructor. Around 80 students have benefitted from the classes and certificates are given to them.

The photocopying unit Impressions is another successful initiative started by the CWS to help our faculty and students.   

The CWS continues to march ahead with its Noon meal scheme called Manna Scheme. Around 130 economically weak students benefit from this scheme. The staff members voluntarily contribute towards this scheme and the money thus generated is used for this purpose. The needy students fill up a form duly signed and recommended by the HoD of the respective Department. This list is handed over to the Day College Student Cafeteria from where the students can eat a meal worth Rs. 20 per day. This popular Free Meal Scheme of the CWS is entering a decade of humanitarian service for our students in 2021-2022.

Manna Scheme

Manna Scheme is a Free Meal Scheme initiated by the Centre for Women’s Studies in 2012. It was an eye-opener to the faculty members that there were many students who could not afford one decent meal a day due to their poor financial situation at home and hence there was a collective suggestion that the faculty can pool in money to help these needy students at least during the time they spent in college. This humble beginning is the genesis of the Manna Scheme. The project is sustained for the past ten years through the voluntary contribution made by the staff members, either as a monthly payment deducted from their salary or a one-time payment and the amount ranges between Rs.100 and Rs 1000 per month for a period of 12 months, from May to April of a year. The Coordinator of the Centre for Women’s Studies initiates the letters to be sent for the staff contribution as well as the Application forms for the students.

The objective is to support the economically weak students of our college with a day’s meal at the rate of Rs. 20 per day. This popular Scheme caters to approximately 130 students in a calendar year.  

Contact: annthomas@mcc.edu.in / cws@mcc.edu.in

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