Women's Studies


Established in the year 2009, Department of  Women’s Studies, GU is the first full-fledged department in the entire Northeast Region of India. The history of the department is rooted in the Women Studies Research Centre, GU, set up in the year 1989 under UGC guideline for Development of Women’s Studies. Since its inception, the Centre was able to create a positive impact in academics and in society through research, extention and advocacy.  The centre had continuously been developed from phase I to phase III when it was converted into a full-fledged department as per UGC guidlines. Since then the Department of Women’s Studies has started its academic programmes. The Department  has the advantage of being guided by the experience and strength gained by the Women’s Studies Research Centre in the long years of the latter’s existence within the University. The department therefore began on a strong foundation of prior research, making it possible to shape a strong curriculum with stress on innovative pedagogy in the classrooms and field action projects.  

In 2009, the Department started its M.Phil programme, followed by Ph.D programme in 2010 and MA in the year 2012. Till date, the Department has produced four successful batches of students of Masters Programme and three batches of M.Phil students. The years 2018 is a historic year for the Department as it has produced its first batch of Ph.D awardees. The Department introduced the CBCS (Choice Based Credit System) in the Masters Programme in 2016.

The alumni of the Department are well placed in various walks of life like research institutions, Government institutions,NGOs of repute etc.





1. MA Programme

 Seat Intake: 38
Duration: 2 years (4 Semesters)
Academic session starts from August every year


2. M.Phil  Programme

Seat Intake:  Determined by the vacancy of the seats with the research supervisors 
Duration: 1 year (2 semesters)
Academic session starts from August every year



3. Ph.D Programme

Seat Intake: Determined by the vacancy of the seats with the resaerch supervisors
Duration: 5 years (including 6 months Coursework)


4. Certificate Course in Gender Studies

Seat Intake: 20
Duration: 3 months


Department of Women's Studies
New Academic Building
Gauhati University Guwahati-781014
Phone: +91- 94357-07982/99570-06087/93653-53522
Email: womenstudies@gauhati.ac.in

The Alumni Association was formed and declared officially on 21/11/2017. The first activity undertaken by the association was : Screening of the movie "Out North Twin Cities, a film based on the LGBTQ history followed by an interactive session with Milin Dutta from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Milin Dutta, a transgender male, is the Principal Consultant at Magenic, Minneapolis-St. Paul Area.


OutNorth: MNLGBTQ History is the first ever, full length film to document and honour Minnesota's LGBTQ history. The film will lift up the stories of well-known and largely unknown LGBTQ Minnesotas who found each other and spoke out when it was a tremendous risk to do so. The film will also explore some of the important ways that Minnesota has played a significant role in the national movement for LGBTQ equality.


Office Bearers of the Association

  • President : Jayanti Sharma
  • General secretary: Trishna Barman
  • Joint Secretary: Valina Barman
  • Treasurer: Deepika Chanda

Ms. Lakheemi Devee, MA(GU), MA(IGNOU), B.Ed

Scientific Officer (Temporarily attached with GUIST)

Email: lakheemi@gauhati.ac.in


Mr Biraj Deka, M.Com(GU)

Scientific Officer (Temporarily attached with Dept of Women's Studies)

Email: biraj1973@gmail.com


Dr. Jyotisikha Dutta, MA(GU), M.Phil(GU), Ph.D(GU)

Senior Laboratory Assistant

Email: jyotisikhadatta@gauhati.ac.in


Mr. Ajit Kr Singha, BA(GU)

Supporting Staff

Email: ajitkr.007@rediffmail.com


Mr Anil Das, HSSLC



   Recent activities  of the Department  


  • The Department organized a 10 day educational trip to Bangaluru  (30.01.18- 08.02.18) where the students interacted with Women’s Studies Centre of Bangalore University, NMKRV college and some of the  NGOs in Bangaluru. At academic level, the students were familiarised with the syllabus of women studies at the Under Graduate and Post Graduate level of Bangalore University. At the societal level, students visited some NGOs working on social issues like Solidarity Foundation and Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT). The Solidarity Foundation provides support to Sex Workers and Sexual minorities in Southern India. The foundation fights for the rights of sex workers and transgenders at community level. KHPT promotes health issues of the adolescents. The NGO also works on HIV AIDS, Tuberculosis, neo-natal care, quality of life of orphan and vulnerable children  and issues related to violence against women.



  • The Department of Women’s Studies provided a platform to Bitopi Dutta, Research Scholar, Dublin City University on 25/04/2018 to share her research with the faculty members, research scholars, students and invited guests on “Gender Restructuring in the Matrilineal Tribe Societies of Northeast India”. 



  • A talk on “Women’s Collectives in Northeast India” was delivered by Dr. Monisha Behal, CEO, NEN on 26/03/2018. In the course of the Lecture she took the audience through her personal and collective journey of the entire historical trajectory of Women’s Collectives in Assam in particular and Northeast India in general. She opined that inspite of the specificities and differences among women they need to find a common ground and work in cooperation for social change. 



  • A one day workshop on “Promoting Social Entrepreneurship amongst Youth” was organized by the Department of Women’s Studies, Gauhati University in collaboration with US Consulate, Kolkata and Department of Social Work, University of Science and Technology, Meghalaya on 06/11/2017. The program witnessed participation from eminent social entrepreneurs of the region, students from Gauhati University and University of Science and Technology, Meghalaya along with several teachers from both the institutions. Interested students from several colleges in Guwahati also joined the programme.


  •  Research Methodology workshop was organised in collaboration with Deptt. of Geography, GU, on 20/09/2017.







Prof(Rtd) Swarnalata Das, Dept. of Education, Gauhati University

UGC Emeritus Fellow (2015-17), Dept. of Women's Studies, Gauhati University

Ph.D Supervisor, Dept. of Women's Studies, Gauhati University


Prof(Rtd) Sheila Bora, Dept. of History, Dibrugarh University

Ph.D supervisor, Dept. of Women's Studies, Gauhati University


Prof(Rtd), Manorama Sharma, Dept. of History, NEHU

Guest Faculty, Dept. of Women's Studies, Gauhati University


Dr Deepshikha Carpenter, MA(MLU), PhD (GU)

Guest Faculty, Dept of Women's Studies, Gauhati University


Ms Jayanti Sharma, MA(GU), MA(SMUDE), LLB(GU)

Guest Faculty, Dept of Women's Studies, Gauhati University


Ms Vaijayanti Bezbaruah, MA(JNU), M.Phil(JNU)

Guest Faculty, Dept of Women's Studies, Gauhati University


The Women’s Studies Research Center, Gauhati University was established on 17th March, 1989 under the sponsorship of the University Grants Commission. It is a pioneering Research Centre in India and the North Eastern Region. Since its inception, the centre has been acting as a catalyst for promoting and strengthening women’s studies through teaching, curriculum development, training, research, capacity building, extension, information dissemination and advocacy. The Centre has undertaken research projects on diverse areas such as health, development, livelihood, culture, violence, media etc in the region. The reports of the research projects are available in the WSRC library. The centre has organised research methodology workshops to build the capacity of the future researchers of the region. Seminars have been organized to disseminate the understanding of women’s studies as a discipline. The findings of the research projects of the centre were also disseminated in different forums. Subsequently in 2009, as per the UGC guidelines teaching in the research based programmes i.e. M.Phil and Ph.D were initiated which led to a full-fledged teaching department in the form of the Department of Women’s Studies, Gauhati University. 

Directors/Heads of the Centre/Department:


1.       Dr. Renu Debi, (May 1989-July 1993)

2.       Dr. Nandita Sharma, (August 1993-May 1994)

3.       Prof Kunja Medhi, (May 1994-October 1996)

4.       Prof Archana Sharma, (November 1996-April 2013)

5.       Dr. Aparna Bhattacharyya, (April 2013- March 2014)

6.       Dr. Polly Vauquline, (April 2014-December 2016)

7.       Prof Alpana Borgohain, ( December 2016- till date)






The Department’s vision is to promote and strengthen Women’s Studies as an academic discipline in the region through teaching, research, extension, networks and collaborations thus evolving as a catalyst in changing women’s lived realities which will pave the path for an equitable and just society.



•Long Term

–To create an equitable and just society through continuous and consistent interventions at various levels
–To make visible women’s lived realities especially of women belonging to the region
–To create credible alternative systems of knowledge generated through women’s experiences

–To be influential in initiating policies and programmes for facilitating and further strengthening social science research with a gender perspective. 

Short Term

–Proposes to take up the theme “Equality and Pluralism: Exploring Gendered Realities” as an area of focus for a period of five years and orient all efforts  (Research Documentation Advocacy etc. ) in that direction.
–To generate sex segregated data on women of the region
–To create a repository of indigenous knowledge particularly those traditionally held by women.
–To help build capacity of women faculty for leadership positions
–To pursue opening of women’s studies courses at the undergraduate level

To promote a participatory teaching learning process


Alpana Borgohain
MA (Dibrugarh) PhD (Dibrugarh) MPhil (Dibrugarh)
Women's Studies

Associate Professor

Polly Vauquline Head of the Department
MA (Gauhati) PhD (NEHU)
Gender Geography, Women's Studies
Syeda Sakira Sahin [ Deceased ]
MA (JNU) PhD (Gauhati)
Women's Movement and History, Feminist Legal Studies, Feminist Theory, Women and Health

Assistant Professor

Poonam Kakoti Borah
MA (JNU) MPhil (JNU) PhD (JNU)
Feminist Theory, Sexuality Studies, Queer Theory, Political Theory
Rukchana Rahman
MA (Gauhati) MPhil (Gauhati) PhD (NEHU)
Women's Studies