Time was when the dominant focus in feminist studies was on women, and on the impact and implications—mostly discrimina- tory—of various institutions, processes and practices on them. Their absence/marginality in the cognitive structures of disciplines was noted, analysed and remedial measures suggested. While such approa-ches do continue and so does the need for them in view of the depth and persistence of gendered constructions of social reality, women’s studies scholarship has made a leap into another phase. It argues, with powerful demonstrations, that in fact to understand various aspects of society and culture, gender is both a crucial axis and also an analytical tool. It is not just that women need to be included, emancipated, empowered (that too, of course) but that social structures and processes can be comprehended more fully if gender is used as a lens. This is a powerful argument against the ghettoization of women’s studies and for the integration of the category of gender into mainstream thinking.
October 2007, volume 31, No 10