Sophia College for Women
(Empowered Autonomous)
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The Sophia Irene Heredia Centre for Women’s Studies and Development (SIHCWSD)

The Sophia Irene Heredia Centre for Women’s Studies and Development (SIHCWSD), launched in 2001 has proven to be a stimulating and engaging centre with multidisciplinary activities happening throughout the year. The centre is rooted firmly in the principles of academics, advocacy and action. Based on this the centre has five major focus areas based on this, they are

  1. Courses and instruction
    Diploma in counseling and Safeguarding of children & Senior Citizens
    Post Graduate Diploma in Nutrition, Diet and Fitness
    Master of Arts in Gender Studies
  2. Library and documentation services
  3. Research and publications (In-house multidisciplinary peer reviewed journal Urdhva Mula published since 2002)
  4. Consultancy and Collaborations
  5. Outreach Activities

SIHCWSD conducts multiple courses throughout the academic year, all of which are designed to address the needs of a diverse set of students. Hence, while the emphasis of some was on the acquirement of skills, others focused on the acquirement of knowledge. As is norm, every year the Sophia Centre for Women’s Studies and Development conducts Certificate courses in Women’s Empowerment; Social Work Focusing on Issues Related to Women and Girls; Basics in Baking; Personal Finance Management and Entrepreneurship Training. We also conduct PG Diploma courses in Counselling as well as Food and Nutrition. Since 2021, we have started a MA programme in Gender Studies.



The activities and involvement in the current year have been extremely encouraging for the advancement of the centre including organizing online talks and conferences in collaboration with national organisations like the IAWS (Indian Association of Women’s Studies) and international bodies like Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Germany. We have factored in the need for restructuring our courses to reach a larger audience by making a few of them accessible online to suit the need of the target groups. This has helped us to conduct our programmes on a national as well as international level.

Our peer reviewed journal,  Urdhva Mula (ISSN 2277-7954) is available online to all those who subscribe to it and we are in the process of making online our documented articles from newspapers both English as well as regional (Hindi and Marathi) on Women’s issues.

The Centre is equipped with an extensive documentation centre which focuses solely on Women’s issues like sexual harassment, domestic violence, gender inequality among others from (2001-2023).

Over the years we have collaborated for academic, training and outreach programmes with several organisations including UNICEF, MAVIM, YWCA, Akshara, Akanksha, Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Navjeevan Trust, CEHAT, CCDT, AAMRAE, VACHA, Silver Innings, MAVA, Young Star Trust, among others. The centre functions as a referral centre and the staff of the centre has provided consultancy services to several organisations.

It is extremely heartening for us as an organisation to recognise that our outreach programmes have benefitted numerous economically disadvantaged young girls and women. A key component of our programmes is that they are not stationary, but mobile, which means we meet those in need of outreach services at the location at which they are. SIHCWSD members and collaborators have conducted capacity-building workshops; entrepreneurship training as well as skill-based vocational training for the focus groups within as well as in the suburbs of Mumbai. We are thankful to all our sponsors, well-wishers and the organisations we have partnered with over the years.



Honorary Director                        :                      Dr. (Sr.) Ananda Amritamahal (English Literature)

Coordinator                             :                       Dr. Lata Pujari (History)                                          

Academic Advisor                            :                      Dr. Vibhuti Patel (Economics)

Senior Programme Officer     :                       Ms. Deepti Anil (Foods and Nutrition)         

Librarian                                  :                      Ms. Sharayu Sawant (Commerce)

Office Assistant                            :                      

Attendant                                :                       Mr. Hayward Lopez



The Consultative Committee of SIHCWSD


Dr. Laxmi Lingam (Women’s Studies)

Dr. Maithreyi Krishnaraj (Economics)

Dr. Nandita Gandhi (Women’s Studies)

Dr. Nasreen Fazalbhoy (Sociology)

Dr. Rohini Gawankar  (Political Science)

Dr. Suma Chitnis (Education)

Dr. Usha Thakkar (Political Science)


Annual Reports: