Centre for Women’s Rights

Research Centres

Centre for Women’s Rights

Centre for Women’s Rights (CFWR), formerly known as Centre for Women, Law and Social Justice, envisions an inclusive and equal society, where every woman will be able to live her life to the fullest potential, with freedom from want and freedom from fear, particularly of violence. Towards this, the Centre has initiated pioneering research on contemporary issues pertaining to women’s rights. The Centre’s work foregrounds the pursuit of inclusive and inter-sectional justice through state level, national, regional and international forums, by adopting feminist and inter-disciplinary approaches.  With an academic commitment to high-quality research, the Centre also contributes to wider legal thinking on issues pertaining to social justice.  It endeavours to bridge the gap between women’s rights activism at the ground level, feminist lawyering in courts, progress made on women’s studies and work undertaken by the academia.

The Centre’s focuses on five specific areas, which are as follows: 

  • Violence against women
  • Women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination
  • Women, peace and security
  • Gender & Securitisation 
  • International law, human rights standards and women’s rights

On these five focus areas, the fulcrum of the Centre’s work is its research activities, particularly socio-legal and action research. The Centre strives to undertake research through collaborations with other universities, governmental entities and non-governmental organizations.  Additionally, CFWR also engages in discourses and deliberations, capacity building and advocacy initiatives.

To know more about the Centre and its work, please find the concept note here.

Director – Prof. (Dr.) Saumya Uma 

Saumya Uma is a recipient of the British Chevening scholarship on human rights.  She has over 28 years’ combined work experience as an academic, law researcher, lawyer, trainer, writer and campaigner on gender, law and human rights. She has served as a research consultant on human rights, with international agencies such as the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).  Her doctoral research was on formulating a legal framework for victim and witness protection with a specific reference to gender-based violence.  Her current interests are:  a) examining family law through a feminist perspective; b) victim and witness protection; c) freedom of religion and women’s rights; and d) situating women’s rights within the international human rights framework. She is presently preparing a book manuscript on violence against women and the Indian legal responses. For more details, see here.

Assistant Director- Prof. (Dr.) Niharika Banerjea.

Niharika Banerjea is uniquely situated as a transdisciplinary queer, gender and sexuality studies scholar, with critical empirical and collaborative work that crosses academic/activist borders and global north/global south divides. Her transnational collaborative work has been generously supported by competitive awards and grants, including an Economic and Social Research Council Grant, United Kingdom, and awards from the Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies, United Kingdom. She has about twenty years of consolidated undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. teaching, supervision, and mentorship experience across the United States and India. For more details see here 


Senior Fellow – Prof. (Dr.) Preethi Krishnan

Preethi Krishnan’s research explores the broad question of how state-society dynamics influence social change. She addresses this question through two thematic projects. Her project on Integrated Child Development Services (Anganwadi) examines how structures of gender, caste, and class influence how women claim entitlements for care and food. The second thematic project examines how the supreme court interprets domestic violence laws and impacts gender justice while adjudicating cases. In another collaborative project, her research explores how women navigated violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. For more details see here


Senior Fellow – Prof.(Dr.) Sagnik Dutta

Sagnik Dutta’s research lies at the intersection of political theory, political anthropology, critical socio-legal studies, and feminist and critical international relations. Their doctoral research explored how debates on minority rights, gender, and religion in political theory can be de-parochialised by studying the meanings of these categories in the everyday life of social movements led by women. Their other strand of research focuses on counterterrorism, gender, and de-colonial approaches to security. For more details see here


Senior Research Associate – Sanya Kishwar.

Sanya Darakhshan Kishwar researches in the area of human rights, gender studies and feminist theories. Her on-going doctoral project at NLU, Delhi focuses on the rise of digital antifeminism in the Global South. She was the recipient of the Best Law Student of India Award, 2018 and SILF-MILAT full tuition scholarship for LLM at Pennsylvania State University. She received Liberty Scholarship for LLM, with specialisation in International Human Rights Law at the University of Leeds. Sanya has been the President of Indian Lawyers Association, Sonipat Chapter and a Council member of WICCI (Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry). She is also mentoring a student-led initiative called P’Voice which aims at simplifying laws for the awareness and understanding of common people. here


Research Assistant – Pauline Forje

Ms. Forje’s interest and engagement in women’s rights; social and economic injustices; sustainable development in developing countries and South-South cooperation transcend both Europe and the African continent due to her international background. Her interests have led to collaborations with NGOs with shared values. here



World Indigenous Rights Day 2023



Film Screening   

The film, Holy Rights by Farha Khatun was screened on the 15th March 2023 on the University premises. 

The film depicts a female character who enrolls in a training program to train other women to become Oazis (Muslim clerics who interpret and administer personal law) which is traditionally male dominated. The film portrays the challenges faced by Muslim women in their fight against the practice of tiple talaq, the condescending attitudes of their community as well as resist external forces from exploiting their movement for their own political gain. 


Photography Competition

I Am WOMAN’ photography contest to commemorate International Women’s Day (08th March 2023). 

The Centre organised the ‘I Am WOMAN’ photography contest to commemorate International Women’s Day (08th March 2023). Students were asked to send in pictures to highlight the meaning of being a woman. From women’s struggles, unionising, women at work, women at leisure, women dancing, laughing and so on. 19 students participated across different schools and departments. Three winners were unanimously chosen and announced during the film screening of Holy Rights by Farha Khatun. Their pictures are to be displayed around the University grounds very soon.


Winners of the ‘I Am WOMAN’ photography contest


Muslim women, dressed in black chador,  engrossed in a conversation at Marine Drive while they bathin the warm afternoon light of a Sunday sunset.


Having struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember, one day, I decided to own my flaws and conducted a photo shoot for myself since photography is what I like to use to express my creativity and emotions. This image is one of the best results of that shoot. I have always considered my eyes the most beautiful feature I have, so I tried to photograph them as best I could with a timer and a tripod. The song “I am Woman”  by Emmy Emmy Meli has always been a source of strength for me. So, for International Women’s Day 2023, I wanted to pay homage to myself and the beauty I bring by submitting this photograph of myself.


On my way to YB, I spotted these women sitting at the divider. They were having a very intense conversation, and on this divider they made themselves very comfortable. I won’t ever know what they were talking. But, i can imagine it. Can you? Your imagination will determine the life of these women now.

Webinars: Ear to the Ground

Book discussion

International Women’s Day, 9th March 2022.
The Centre held a virtual screening session and discussion of JUICE; AHALYA & PLEASE MIND THE GAP

Upcoming Announcement – Fall 2023 Activities