Rationale

Why a Centre for Gender Studies?

  • Increase of women students in higher education / decrease of men students (Statistics for the year 2010 show that of a total student intake of 2307, 1496 are women and 811 are men at the University of Kelaniya).
  • More men in management & governance structures ( of the 134 members of Sri Lankan University Council that are appointed by the University Grants Commission, currently only 8 are women; of 15 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country only 2 have women Vice Chancellors. Statistics for the year 2010 show that there were 347 male professors and 110 female professors in the system (UGC).
  • Some gender-related issues in campus include -
    • Ragging & student micropolitics
    • Gendered division of labour in academia
    • Gender violence (including the murder of women students, ragging and sexual harassment),
    • Fewer leadership position by women students
    • Infrastructure and other facilities of the universities not gender sensitive
  • What are the implications of these facts for HE policy? University practice?
  • Despite gender studies becoming an essential interdisciplinary subject worldwide, it has not been integrated / mainstreamed into Sri Lankan universities.

Rationale

Thus, there is a critical need for universities as workplaces to account for the specific gender-related interests and needs of women and men academics, administrators and students. They also have to account for the external conditions, events and factors impacting on university life such as prolonged armed conflicts, natural disasters, social inequalities, political unrest, diversity needs, etc., on a regular basis. In addition, they need to account for the ongoing transitions of universities worldwide in the face of rapidly expanding knowledge economies, and the resultant competitiveness and output-orientation of higher education institutions.