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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: 
  • 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, learn bollywood dancing, see the Taj Mahal, visit a tiger sanctuary, 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 is in Delhi, the political and administrative capital of India and its second largest city.  Continuously inhabited since the 6th century BCE, today Delhi is a diverse city with monuments of its ancient past juxtaposed with modern living.  Students will experience Delhi's lively arts and culture scene, visit the bustling streets of Old Delhi, and visit locations throughout the expansive city.  From Delhi, students will travel to Agra, Jaipur, Brindavan, and Ranthambore, returning to Delhi 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 double occupancy hotel rooms during the program. All hotels used for this program have high safety standards and provide comfortable accommodations. 

Life Abroad: 

2017 Tentative Program Itinerary (activities and itinerary are subject to change)

January 2: Depart U.S. for Delhi, India

January 3: Welcome to Delhi!

January 4: Delhi

  • Program orientation
  • Spend the day with Delhi University students.
  • Visit Biz Divas, a consulting agency promoting women's leadership in business.
  • Experience CyberHub, a vast  "premium socializing zone" with eateries and businesses of all kinds.
  • Meet with a high profile woman in Indian government
  • Attend a cultural performance of classical Indian dance.

January 5: Delhi

  • Visit an artisan NGO Dastkar to learn about their work to facilitate more profitable livelihoods for both male and female traditional artisans.
  • Tour Navdanya, one of India's most successful people's movement for sustainable agriculture and environment.
  • Visit the well-known Sufi shrine Nizamuddin Dargah with Sadia Dehlvi, journalist and author actively promoting broader understanding of the Sufi religion and women's roles in the faith.

January 6: Delhi and Agra

  • Travel to the Akshaya Patra Foundation in Bengaluru, India.  Akshaya Patra is a non-profit organization that feeds 1.3 million impoverished children daily through its meal delivery network.
  • Visit Vrindavan, a sacred, beautiful space associated with Lord Krishna and learn about women's roles in religion.
  • Follow one of Akshaya Patra's meal deliveries to a rural village school.
  • Meet the elephants and bears at Wildlife SOS and meet with co-founder Geeta Seshamani. 

January 7: Agra

  • Visit the Taj Mahal.
  • Explore Keoladeo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Rajputana Society of Natural History to learn how India is addressing tension between animal conservation and local livelihood.
  • Travel by train to Ranthambore.

January 8: Ranthambore

  • Visit Dastkar's collective, an organization using craft production to improve the livelihood of villagers.
  • Experience an evening tiger safari at Ranthambore National Park.

January 9: Jaipur

  • Travel to Jaipur.
  • Visit Startup Oasis, a business incubator, and meet with one of its female entrepreneurs. 
  • Visit to Centre for Human Rights and Social Welfare.

January 10: Jaipur, Delhi

  • Jaipur heritage walk.
  • Visit to Mahila Salah Evam Suraksha Kendra and meet with a representative from the Department of Women and Child Development, State of Rajasthan.
  • Return to Delhi and enjoy dinner with local women in leadership.

January 11: Delhi

  • Shadow female startup entrepreneurs at NASSCOM Startup Warehouse in Guragon.
  • Visit the outdoor handicrafts market Dilli Haat and meet with traditional artisans as well as Jaya Jaitly, the founder of a national association of Indian crafts people.
  • Panel discussion with academics, researchers, and leaders from the All India Women's Conference.

January 12: Delhi

  • Activities TBD.

January 13: Delhi

  • Visit Old Delhi.
  • Participate in an Indian cooking class, while learning about the importance of food in the daily social and family lives of various communities in India.
  • Final program celebration.

January 14: Depart India

  • Morning activities TBD.
  • Evening departure for the US.




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

"Delhi I Love You" - Delhi through the eyes of Delhiites (includes several scenes from Old Delhi where students will visit): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVdk4e0UnHA

Ranthambore National Park's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RanthambhorePark

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 is an interpersonal communication scholar whose specialty is family communication and mental health, and the personal development factors related to women’s leadership. She actively researches the association between mental health issues (e.g., anxiety, depression, stress, and negative affectivity), communication processes (e.g., conflict management, coping strategies, social skills deficits) and relationship quality (e.g., satisfaction, commitment, divorce proneness). She also examines the intersection of gender, communication style, and psychosocial variables (i.e., empathy, self-efficacy, etc.) to increase influence and leadership effectiveness within personal systems.


Summer & Fall Program Deadlines Extended for some programs.
See list of programs for more information.

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