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Martha Farrell

Dr. Martha Farrell was a passionate civil society leader, renowned and respected in India and around the world for her work on women's rights, gender equality, and adult education. She was the Director of the PRIA International Academy of Lifelong Learning, Dean of Gender Studies with the Indira Gandhi Open University, and a fierce women’s rights campaigner – particularly working to end gender violence and gender harassment in the workplace. She authored the first book on sexual harassment in the workplace in India.

Martha formally joined PRIA (Society for Participatory Research in Asia) in 1996. Martha brought a feminist perspective and gender equity into PRIA. As Director of PRIA’s program on Gender Mainstreaming in Institutions, she trained thousands of grassroots women leaders and professionals from different walks of life on issues related to citizen engagement in local governance, gender mainstreaming and sexual harassment. From 2005 onwards, she led PRIA’s work on distance education, founding and developing PRIA International Academy, the academic wing of the organization. She also taught part-time at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University in Canada.

Martha was highly pragmatic in her approach, and believed that for gender equality to be achieved, it must be observed and practiced by everyone in their daily life, starting among family, friends and at the workplace. It was her conviction that the attitude and behavior of men and boys must change if gender equality is to be secured over the long-term.

in 2015, Martha Farrell was killed – along with 13 others- in a Taliban terrorist attack on a guest house while she was in Kabul, Afghanistan, providing gender equality training for the Aga Khan Trust.

To learn about Dr. Martha Farrell's work see

also Read Rajesh Tandon, A Requiem for Martha Farrell

March 3, 2023

Episode 8 - Martha Farrell: Gender Justice at PRIA with Nandita Bhatt…

This is our first episode paying tribute to a feminist trailblazer who is no longer with us. Dr. Martha Farrell was Director of the International Academy of Lifelong Learning of the Society for Participatory Research in Asia ...

Episode page