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Global Women's Leadership in India

Global Women's Leadership in India
India's cities and villages become a dynamic classroom in this two week winter break program focused on women's leadership in India.
Language of Instruction: 
Winter Break
Academic Disciplines: 
-Open to All Majors
Leadership Studies
Program Type: 
Faculty Led
  • Earn three hours of leadership studies credit (LDST 260/LDST 460).
  • Visit a variety of NGOs, MNE’s, and educational institutions to learn about women’s roles and the leadership challenges women are addressing in the contexts of business, politics, education, and culture.
  • Practice yoga, visit Bollywood's most famous studio, take a safari in the Bannerghatta National Park, and try your hand at cooking Indian cuisine during some of the cultural experiences included in this program.
Program Summary: 

The purpose of this study abroad experience is to learn first hand the global nature of issues faced by women and the varied styles of leadership they engage. Through the contexts of business, politics, education, and culture, students will gain deeper insight into the challenges women face globally and the leadership strategies they employ in order to make progress. Open to undergraduate students in any major; students enroll in one 3 credit course in the Institute of Leadership Studies. The two week program will include visits to multi-national businesses, nonprofit organizations, women-owned start-ups and small businesses, and educational institutions, and meetings with women from the corporate, nonprofit, small business, political, and educational sectors. 


Students will have the opportunity to visit multiple cities and villages in India. The program's home base for the 2020 program will be in Bangalore, the tech capital of India and its third largest city.  Students will visit locations throughout the expansive city and experience its rich culture and history. From Bangalore, students will visit Hyderabad and Mysore, returning to Bangalore for the final days of the program. 


Academic Information: 

Three hours of academic credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program and will be posted to the student’s Spring transcript.  Students will enroll in LDST 260/LDST 460: Study Abroad Topics in Leadership Studies: Women’s Leadership.

Leadership Studies Minor students can count the course toward an elective credit in their leadership studies minor program of study.

The program consists of a combination of lecture, discussion, readings, and site visits to understand the issues surrounding women’s leadership in India. The program includes visits to NGOs, MNE’s, and educational institutions to learn about women’s roles and the leadership challenges women are addressing in the contexts of business, politics, education, and culture. Throughout the program the group will have opportunities to visit, engage, and network with women representing the various sectors examined, local community members, eat local cuisine, shop at various locations, and explore cultural/historic sites.


Students will stay in a guest house in central Bangalore. Rooms are double occupancy.  The guest house is located in a safe neighborhood and offers comfortable accommodations complete with a courtyard and dining area where breakfast is served every day.  Most meals are included in the cost of the program. 

Identity Abroad: 

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Considerations for India

India's laws do not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and homosexuality is illegal, although prosecution is rare. The topic of sexuality is often considered taboo, especially in more rural areas.  Many students traveling to India choose not to openly disclose their sexual orientation.

Students with mobility considerations may find it difficult to get around India. The Delhi metro system is designed to be accessible to those with disabilities, but older sections of the city and smaller towns may be difficult to navigate due to centuries-old architecture, busy roadways, and uneven pavement.

Visitors to temples, mosques, churches, or other locations considered sacred by the local population should be mindful of restrictions and customary observances. Some religious sites may restrict entry to non-members and may require the removal of shoes, covering of the head, or have other requirements for appropriate attire.

Source: U.S. Department of State country information pages and Diversity Abroad.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.


This program is open to students of any major with an interest in women’s empowerment.  No prior coursework is necessary.  Minimum 2.5 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition).

Further Reading: 

For more information contact:

Dr. Mary Banwart

The University of Kansas

Institute for Leadership Studies

Email: mbanwart@ku.edu

Video Clips

"Incredible India" (Indian Ministry of Tourism) - TV commercial that traces the journey of a young woman through India: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qBE_Z8JbzY

Program Faculty: 

Mary Banwart, PhD

Dr. Banwart is an Associate Professor in the Communication Studies Department and is the director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at KU. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership and communication as well as political communication. Her political research focuses on political campaign communication and the influence of gender in political campaigns, with specific attention directed toward political advertising, campaign web sites, and mixed-gender debates. Her research on women and leadership focuses on leadership program development and assessment; and, the intersection of gender, mindset, personal efficacy, and flourishing. She directs the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute hosted at KU.


Alesia Woszidlo, PhD

Alesia Woszidlo, Ph.D. (University of Arizona) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. She researches the intersection of family of origin, communication processes, mental health, and relationship quality in the context of family relationships. Alesia is also the Academic Director and a member of the core faculty for the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute, a U.S. Department of State’s Study of US Institute’s (SUSI) programs on Women’s Leadership. This academic program is for female undergraduate leaders and develops leadership competencies, cultivates a spirit of collaboration, and elevates the power of women’s voices. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in family communication, interpersonal communication, stress and coping, and conflict management and leadership.


Summer 2022 programs now accepting applications !

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