BA (Hons), Communicative English, Aligarh Muslim University (2011)
MA Human Rights, Aligarh Muslim University (2013)
MSc Development Studies, London South Bank University (2015)

Biography

Wajiha Mehdi is pursuing her PhD at Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at University of British Columbia. At UBC, Wajiha holds the Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship, GRSJ Graduate Scholarship and R. Howard Webster Award.

Wajiha has pursued Masters in Development Studies from London South Bank University which was funded by the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship. She also holds a Masters in Human Rights from Aligarh Muslim University, as well as, Bachelor’s in Communicative English from Aligarh Muslim University. At Aligarh Muslim University, Wajiha was elected as the only female Cabinet Member of AMU Students’ Union in 2011-12 where she worked and campaigned for equal facilities for female students.  Before joining UBC, Wajiha was working as an intern with United Nations Development Programme where she supported the documentation of Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 for the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Wajiha is also engaged in freelance journalism and writes on issues concerning gender, race and culture.

Research

The Muslims in India constitute an odd-lot among religious minorities. At 13.4% of the total Indian population, they make up for third largest Muslim population in the world. Other than their demographic mass, the Indian Muslims are a peculiar minority due to their troubled legacy, economic deprivation and increasing socio-spatial segregation.

In this scenario, the Indian state of Gujarat makes an interesting case study. Gujarat’s economic growth has been massively exalted for the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s 2014 general election. Moreover, since 1980s, the state has witnessed unprecedented religious intolerance towards its Muslim minority, and is performing poorly on human development indicators. In this course of events, the status of Muslim women in Gujarat is reflective of complex forms of gender exploitation. The study will reflect upon three primary trends, neoliberal globalisation of the 1980s, the rise of Hindu nationalism and religious disadvantage and discrimination of Muslim women. Despite the correlation and convergence of these trends, they have never been simultaneously empirically examined to study their impact on socio-economic condition of Muslim women in Gujarat. The study will focus on the measurable outcomes; educational attainment and wage employment over the past 20 years in a comparative perspective.

Selected Publications

Mehdi, Wajiha (2016) ‘A Muslim Feminist Looks at Sex,’ Economic and Political Weekly 51(29) 163-164

Mehdi, Wajiha (2016) ‘The Abdullah Hall Years,’ Economic and Political Weekly 51 (37) 71-72

Mehdi, Wajiha (2016) ‘Growing up in Tehran, Iran,’Coldnoon- International Journal of Travel Writing and Travelling Culture

Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship (2017)
Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice Graduate Fellowship, UBC (2017)
R. Howard Webster Graduate Fellowship (2017)
Awarded Commonwealth Shared Scholarship to pursue Masters’ programme in Development Studies at London South Bank University (2014)
Awarded Gold medal for the outstanding merit in Masters’ programme in Human Rights, Aligarh Muslim University (2014)