The freedom fighters of India , under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, realised the need to awaken women and the vibrant women freedom fighters took it upon themselves to do this and establishment of AIWEFA in 1929 was their legacy.
A group of women of All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) , a premier women’s organisation, championed the cause of their unfortunate sisters by improving access to education and struggled hard to overcome the social disabilities.
In 1930, the Pachmari session of AIWEFA declared that the education of women had to be relevant to their needs, sometimes different from that of men. The importance of scientific outlook in women was acknowledged and the need was felt to give a thrust to develop women’s inherent capacities to enable them to apply “The Science of Living” to the individual, home and the community. The efforts to bring women into the public sphere from their domestic confines, without neglecting their household responsibilities, gained currency. Domestic Science, thus for unknown in India as an educational discipline became the recommended concept for the progressive education of women. The curriculum envisaged in 1930 by AIWEFA was to consist of everything for a woman’s all-round development and for her many and varied roles; the physical, biological and social sciences, humanities and arts, the domestic sciences, housewifery, needlework & tailoring, laundry & textiles, dietetics & cookery & and child development. There were to be extracurricular activities and sports and community out-reach programmes.
With Lady Dorothy Irwin as the Patroness, ‘AIWEFA will be a real benefactor to the women and girls of India and the dreams of its founders will come true.’ (Secretary’s Report, 1929)
The objectives of the Association were to administer the funds to promote the education of women and girls in India, institution of propaganda for propagating such education in the country, the increase and supply of better trained teachers, having particular regard to the inclusion of training of domestic subjects, encouragement and production of better text books and attractive and suitable literature in vernacular, the promotion of children of kindergarten age and the promotion of courses of training in Home Craft, Fine Arts, Domestic Science, Physical Culture and other suitable subjects.
From the above gradually evolved the shape of an All India Institution, which ultimately led to the founding of Lady Irwin College for Women on November 11, 1932, with 11 students, at No. 11 Barakhamba Road, New Delhi under the Director-ship of Ms. Hannah Sen.
1932 – 1950:
AIWEFA managed college affairs till 1950 on academic and financial fronts .It was with some struggle that University of Delhi agreed to affiliate the college as its constituent in 1950 and award the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees.
1950 – 1970:
The college expanded in numbers of students and staff, degrees offered, activities and infrastructural development. At the AIWEFA Annual General Meeting of 1969, it was resolved that “ a separate society in the name of the Lady Irwin College Society be constituted and registered as per University rules and regulations.”
It was further resolved that the land, buildings, and other assets of the Lady Irwin College , so far vested in the All India Women’s Education Fund Association be transferred to the “ Lady Irwin College Society.” Eventually it was done in 1972.
1970 – 1995:
Infrastructural development and academic expansion of the college continued at a rapid pace in the next two and a half decades.
1995 – 2005:
The AIWEFA rededicated itself to the goals set by its founders. The vision had to be expanded to include information technology and scientific improvements in all, industrial, agricultural and traditional artistry. In 2005, AIWEFA celebrated its Platinum Jubilee and reemphasised the need to bring in scientific temper in the way of life. The main celebrations were held on March 22 and 23, 2005 through a two day Workshop, Seminar and Exhibition.
2005 – 2007:
Today, the college has both undergraduate and postgraduate education in Foods & Nutrition, Human Development , Childhood Studies, Fabric & Apparel Science, Development Communication & Extension and Resource Management & Design Application. Doctoral programmes have been ongoing for the last four decades. The department of Education offers Bachelor’s degree in Home Science Education and in 2007 introduced the one year Bachelor of Special Education-Mental Retardation (MR) programme. College also celebrated its Platinum Jubilee in 2007.
AIWEFA has the responsibility to provide the names of the members for the Governing Body of the Lady Irwin College to the University of Delhi annually by electing them at its Annual General Meeting.
AIWEFA’s activities in the rural and urban communities have intensified; AIWEFA’s advocacy and lobbying for mainstreaming gender has gained momentum with its regular workshops, interactions and networking. AIWEFA participates in various national and international for a including the United Nations.
The college was conferred the status of CAS ie Centre for Advanced Studies in Home Science by the University Grants Commission.
The college started the Semester System and is continuing it as per University of Delhi guidelines.
Nine Solar Fairs were held in Gurgaon villages and 2 National Seminars on Green & Solar Energy were held in New Delhi.
The 85th Foundation year Celebrations started.
AIWEFA had several programmes under 85th year celebrations.
AIWEFA had National Consultation for CSW60 at New Delhi on 9 March 2015 and a parallel event “ A World We women Want” at UN HQs. New York on 15 March 2015.