Formed in December 2017, the AOW (Alliance of Oversensitive Women), also called the NLS Feminist Alliance strives to create discussions around, and work towards the ideals of gender equality, intersectional inclusion and diversity, at NLSIU and beyond. Hoping to build spaces that are free of harassment and misogyny, the NLSFA not only functions as a platform to condemn regressive and patriarchal behaviours, but also tries to work towards building understanding and sparking conversation. Through our activities and members, we hope to make the student body more aware of the nuances of gender-based oppressions. We also serve as a nodal point for any student in need of support and guidance, helping them access redressal mechanisms for the exclusion and discrimination faced on campus by people from gender minorities.
The NLSFA is involved in conceptualising and organising events and activities to build solidarity and awareness on campus, as well as opening up and supporting conversations and protests against gender based oppressions in Law School and beyond. Our events are often conducted in the signature #NotASafeSpace format, which takes the form of candid discussions around sensitive topics — no questions are unwelcome, and multiple stakeholders are engaged. In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, NLSFA held a conversation around consent and harassment with more than a 100 students.
Some of our other activities include:
- Yamuna Nights – informal safe spaces for residents of the women’s halls of residence, to bond over conversations about gendered experiences, sexual oppressions, and what it means to be a member of a gender minority in a law school.
- Routine sensitisation activities – Privilege Walk to help incoming students understand intersectional privileges, along with workshops, reading circles and movie screenings that highlight issues of sex, consent, sexual harassment, feminist solidarity, etc.
- A collaboration with faculty member Prof. Aparna Chandra to conduct the Feminist Judgments Project, which aims to rewrite important judgements through a feminist lens. This has now expanded to form the Judgements Rewriting Project alongside other student collectives: this includes other lenses such as those of caste, queerness and disability.
- Proactive measures to address any form of invisibilisation of gender minorities – this includes responding to consultations on amending the SHARIC code (NLS’ primary disciplinary code against sexual harassment), drafting amendments to the SBA Constitution, and suggesting the current co-presidential model for the SBA presidency.
- Supporting gender-related movements beyond Law School — participation in the 2019 protests and the ‘May It Please Your Lordship’ campaign; collaboration with the NLS Queer Alliance and other law school students to condemn statements against marriage equality.
Through our active and multi-platform online presence on Facebook, Instagram and email, we also help break down and reiterate the various systems present on campus for protection of gender minorities, and lobby in support of important movements.
The alliance is open to members from all programmes, with no restrictions with regard to gender identity. Applicants are asked to fill out a short form about their interests and commitment, and are then selected based on their responses as well as an interview. Anyone who is committed to the feminist cause and to fighting gender-based oppression is welcome to be a part of NLSFA, and we actively take steps to ensure that our membership is increasingly diverse, especially with regard to other axes of oppression, such as caste, queerness, and disability. While there is no limit on membership or formal leadership structure, we do have a two-tier system of organisation in order to streamline work processes — volunteers are divided into Core and Lite based on the amount of work they do within the alliance, with the possibility of switching from one group to another.
- Shreya Mittal, II Year B.A. LL.B. (Hons.)
- Pravidhi, II Year B.A. LL.B. (Hons.)