Celebrating the centenary of the International Women's Day, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has announced new programmes in gender and women's studies. The university had organized a day-long function at the IGNOU campus on March 8 to celebrate International Women's Day. The new programmes include development of a project to be converted into Certificate/Diploma in Gender and Nutritional Security, Certificate/Diploma in Gender & Labor and Certificate/Diploma in Gender in Cinema. Other new programmes in design and development stage include Certificate/Diploma programmes in Gender & Law, Gender & Science and Gender Agriculture & Sustainable Development. “When we look at the relation between education and women empowerment, we find that several kinds of social evils, like female feticide, dowry, etc., are still prevalent in the society. There is an urgent need to critically look at the sort of education provided to women today,” said Vice Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, while inaugurating the celebrations at the Convention Centre. The occasion was hosted by the School of Gender and Development Studies (SOGDS), in association with the IGNOU Committee Against Sexual Harassment (ICASH), School of Humanities (SOH), School of Translation Studies and Training (SOTST) and School of Performing and Visual Arts (SOPVA). The celebrations included a painting exhibition, a musical prelude, a street play (by the students of SOPVA) and a seminar on 'Feminist Writings In Indian Literature' eulogizing the importance of women in the society. “Marking a date in the calendar as International Women's Day started in the year 1911. Today, the entire IGNOU community celebrates 100 years of great aspirations, which have remained undiminished,” said SOGDS Director Prof Savita Singh. While delivering a lecture on 'Women's Writing in Kannada', Prof U.R. Ananthamurthy, Chair Professor, Tagore Chair for Indian Literature, IGNOU, distinctly differentiated between the way women are treated in classical and folk literature. “You have to see how certain things are preserved. Many other Indian languages were influenced by Sanskrit when it was in decline. Later writers used to develop only 'alankars', which were meaningless most of the times. What was decadent in Sanskrit became alive in Indian languages,” he said. SOTST Director Prof K. Satchidanandan elucidated his thoughts on 'Women's Writing in Malayalam' by remembering renowned English author Virginia Woolf's famous work 'A Room of One's Own'. Quoting the author, Prof Satchidanandan said, “Had Shakespeare been a woman, he wouldn't have become Shakespeare. It is because he wouldn't have traveled London, as traveling was very difficult for women during those times; he wouldn't have got acquainted with people and thus would have never acted.” Prof Satchidanandan drew attention to four major movements in women's fiction in Kerala by four women authors namely K. Saraswati Amma, Lalithambika Antherjanam, Kamala Das and Sarah Joseph. “There is a vibrant women's literature in Kerala, which talks about everything significant to the lives of women today,” he added. SOH Director Prof Rita Rani Paliwal highlighted feminism in Hindi literature by remembering Mirabai as the first woman litterateur of India. Further, there were similar discussions by Prof Satyakam and Dr Malti Mathur from SOH, which were followed by paper presentations by the Research and Training Assistants (RTAs) of the University.