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Women's Studies

The Breakdown

Deemed the fairer sex by some, women have historically been relegated to the background.  Indeed, far too often they have been forced to play supporting characters, sometimes within their own lives.  However, even from deep within the confines of the kitchen, women have managed to quietly shape society.  And, of course, as time has progressed so too have the rights, privileges and experiences of women.  If you want to learn more about the history of and the issues facing women, then women’s studies is likely the major for you.    

An interdisciplinary pursuit, women’s studies addresses feminist philosophies along with theories about the implications of gender identity.  Through a variety of classes ranging from sociology and anthropology to art history and literature, you’ll study the intellectual, cultural and political development (and contributions) of women.  You’ll also consider the feminine perspective on issues of health, economics, race and religion.  It’s important to mention that, as a women’s studies major, you’ll have a lot of flexibility with your requirements.  Of course, regardless of class schedule/selection, you can expect reading, writing and research intensive syllabi.  Lastly, it is fairly common for undergrads to pair women’s studies with a second, complementary major.    

A major in women’s studies calls for strong communication skills.  Additionally, you will need to be good at analyzing and synthesizing information.  Intellectual curiosity is also paramount as you’ll cover a variety of topics.  Lastly, you should be able to pepper your conversation with Gloria Steinem quotes.  


Nuts and Bolts

As a women’s studies major, you’ll analyze the constraints, constructs and contexts of gender in classes such as: Feminist Philosophies; Women in Buddhism; Adam, Eve and the Serpent; Gender and the Body in Ancient Greece; Sex, Desire and Culture; Rights and Identities, Women and Gender in Film; Latin American Women Writers; Women Environment and Health; Issues in Domestic Violence; and Women and Crime.

Decisions, Decisions

Women’s studies majors are curious about the dynamics of gender and how they develop and affect societies and cultures.  Therefore, they might also consider studying American studies, history, literature, anthropology, urban studies, sociology, Asian studies, Latin American studies, political science, African studies, journalism, psychology, film and art history.

What's Next

All right – we’ll admit it.  Women’s studies does not necessarily prepare you for any specific career track.  However, therein lies the beauty.  The skills you’ll both hone and acquire are applicable to a variety of fields and professional pursuits.  Indeed, if you do a little digging, you’ll find fellow majors in numerous industries.  Like so many liberal arts students, a number of women’s studies majors pursue law and business degrees.  Others might land positions as archivists or museum educators.  Journalism and documentary film are also common pursuits as are advertising, public relations and public policy work.  Many also gravitate towards education, healthcare reform and social work.  Truly, just like women’s studies draws upon many different disciplines, it’s possible for majors to head in many directions.



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Don Munce