Emancipating South Asian Women from Mental Slavery

November 14, 2019

November 14, 2019

6:00 pm To 7:30 pm

The Great Room (Ground Floor), 19 University Place, New York


Event Description

Patriarchy, conflict, racial and gender stratification on the back of colonialism and its systematic erosion women’s place in South Asian societies. This has led to an extreme vulnerability and consequently a myriad of mental health issues with suicide being the lead killer of women in Nepal.

While the developed world is now paying attention to mental health as an illness, it is still very much of a taboo subject in the developing world.

This non-academic talk seeks to draw attention to the plight of the South Asian woman with particular emphasis on Nepal and Pakistan, and how efforts are being made to alleviate the stigma and empower women.


Gayathri Santhi-McBain is a social justice activist committed to women’s rights, racial equality and advocacy for migrant workers. Women’s health in SouthAsia has been an area of focus in recent years.

She is a Trustee and Board Member for Unity in Health, a UK-based Non-Governmental Organisation that focuses on mental health in the developing world. She has traveled to Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka on UiH missions.

Gayathri has also worked very closely with the East London International Women’s Health Appeal (ELLY Appeal) on a project in India, which focused on maternal mortality and maternal morbidity. Having trained as a lawyer, Gayathri spent most of her career as a journalist in the classically alpha male oil industry.

She is the founder of Word On Women and sits as co-chair of Pure Energy, a women’s peer support group within the 1880 Women’s Forum. She is one half of a Scottish-Malaysian Sri Lankan Tamil partnership, which produced two sparkling lights, aged eight and six.

Michael John Williams is Clinical Professor of International Relations, Director of the International Relations Program and Affiliate Professor of European Studies & History at New York University.

In addition to his duties at NYU, he is Editor of the journal International Politics, an Associate of the think-tank IDEAS! at the London School of Economics & Political Science and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States.

His functional area of research is international security and his regional area of expertise is NATO, Europe, and Russia.

He is currently completing a textbook on international security for Cambridge University Press.

Before coming to NYU Prof. Williams was Reader in International Relations at the University of London. From 2006-2008 Prof. Williams was Director of the Transatlantic Security Programme at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI) in London. From 2004-2006 he was Programme Officer for the Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War at the University of Oxford. He has consulted for policy-makers in the United States, Canada, and Europe on various international security issues.

Educated at the universities of Delaware, Hamburg, Bayreuth, Bath, Berlin, and Moscow he earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics & Political Science.

Add a Review