This auto-ethnographic essay draws upon Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge to discuss the condition of Indian women in the Humanities in academia today. While acknowledging the encouragingly gender-inclusive projections in India’s National Education Policy vision statement from 2020, I argue for more probing engagement with the concrete reality of being a woman teacher and researcher in the increasingly competitive and corporatized milieu of higher education. My methodology has been a close reading of the NEP’s vision statement to analyze recurrences of terms and concepts as pointers to its discursive field. I argue that this policy statement implicitly envisions an empowered new-age Indian woman teacher, notionally mother to all her pupils, aiding their awakening intuitively from the very heart of her experiences, skills, and memories. Against this somewhat idealized feminine ecology of the NEP in principle and spirit, I juxtapose the actual everyday choices and struggles of women in academic positions. Does the decolonization of education in spirit also impart actual transformative agency to women academics? Will women be listened to? Not one essential woman, but heterogeneous women—women across different strata, identities, professional spaces, and ideologies? Above all, my essay probes the challenges and dividends of transitioning to a more home-grown teaching and research methodology derived from current Western academic models. For instance, what forms and lines of interdisciplinarity could best serve the interest of quality control in research and teaching? In the third and last section, I argue that women are equal contributors in the discourse of academics in the future. We are committed stakeholders that can help enhance collective performance and efficiency in ways that are commensurate and compatible with our particular needs, contexts, restraints, aptitudes, and encumbrances. I conclude my essay by urging colleagues in academia, women and men, to recognize that we can truly deliver on this challenge only in a spirit of intellectual, ethical, and interpersonal collaboration and collegiality.
Dutta Gupta, Ananya
"We Deliver: The Condition of the Woman Academic in India Today,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
7, Article 12.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss7/12