USTU 202 3 Hrs Credit (no prerequisites)

1) Catalog description

A survey of contemporary issues for women in South Asia, - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan - diversity of conditions within the Third World; comparison of statistics on literacy rates, infant mortality, life expectancy and GNP with some industrialized countries; variations in the status of women within the family and in society; contrasting family customs between north India and south India; family planning and factors that influence family size; Indian women in villages; women and work; women and caste or class; women's movement and empowerment of women. 

Course Outline:

Week 1

With the help of a map introduce students to South Asia - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. Draw their attention to the similarities and differences in the physical layout of the lands and the people. Make students aware of the special concerns and contributions of women in South Asia in context of the women in other countries of the world.. Focus the discussion on family unit and the domestic tasks and nurturing of the children the world over. Make students aware of how women in South Asia are organizing to give themselves a stronger voice in bringing about positive economic and social changes for themselves, their families, and their societies.

Week 2-3

Students will analyze the meaning of Third World. They will be made aware of the diverse conditions within the Third World. Students will be introduced to the importance of analyzing statistics by gender. Compare illiteracy, infant mortality, life expectancy, industrialization, GNP etc. with selected industrialized countries.

Week 4

With the help of slides, introduce the students to the Third World women. Modify stereotyped ideas that students might have about women in South Asia using India as an example.

Week 5 - 6

History of Indian women through the ages.

Week 7

Make students aware of the importance of gender as a category of analysis when considering family relationships in the Third World. Focus attention on diversity of the status of women according to where they live, within the family, at each life stage, and in public life.

Week 8

Contrasting family customs between north India and south India, draw attention to the importance of the gender, diverse living conditions, cultural and economic factors that effect the status of women and girls.

Week 9

Make students aware of the importance of family planning in the control of population. Have students analyze data that suggests reasons for the limited success of family planning programs in South Asia. Compare it with the abortion rights and prolife controversy in the USA. To reinforce student awareness of the importance of analysis by gender. Have students act as policy decision makers by developing a family planning program.

Week 10

Infant mortality rate; children's labor and its value to the family, reasons for preferring sons, dowry, exogamy, family lineage, education for women, high value placed on pregnancy and motherhood, economic prosperity, women's role outside the home.

Week 11

Growing up female in a central Indian village-case study. Separation of sexes, concern with hierarchy or ranking of people by sex, caste, age and role. Control of emotions and personal desires and the need to fit into the family and village without complaint.

Week 12

Women and Work: Expand students' perception of what constitutes "work." Make them aware of the importance of women's contributions to their families and countries. Use audiovisual aids and introduce the diversity of occupations for women in South Asia. Contrast the wealth, education, position, and power of these women to women in other countries, especially the U.S.A.

Week 13

Make students aware of the arduous nature of much of the work done by women in South Asia: Why South Asian women perceive there are benefits in working outside the home. To have students realize the burden of the "double day" for most women workers.

Week 14

To have students connect environmental issues such as deforestation with women's work in South Asia. Empowerment of women, and the reform movement in South Asia; women's organizations working to find solutions to the problems.

Week 15

Make students aware of specific problems for women in India and the efforts made by Indian women to solve these problems. Provide students with the opportunity to create "street theater" that focuses on a problem for women in their society.

Text books

  • Lliddle, Joanna and Rama Joshi. Daughters of independence. New Brunswick, New Jersy. Rutgers University Press. 1989.

  • The U.S. agency for International Development of Educational Programs. Women and Development Issues in Third World Areas.


Through case studies, inductive lessons, evaluation exercises, primary source readings, and audiovisual presentations on Third World women, the students will be made aware of the contemporary issues for women in South Asia - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. Throughout the course effort will be made to compare and contrast the life of American women with the life of women of South Asia. Discuss with students possible solutions to the women's issues and the problems.

Teaching Strategies

  • Lecture

  • Discussion

  • Group activities

  • Required and recommended readings

  • Films/videotapes

  • Guest speakers


Examinations will consist of multiple choice and short essay questions. For essay questions, students will be asked to answer two out of three questions.



20 Points

Final Exam

30 Points


20 Points

Short Tests

30 Points


100 Points


Conventional letter grade criteria will be used.









Below 60




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