Women's and Gender Studies Program

Women's and Gender Studies Program

The program in Women’s and Gender Studies has three primary aims:

  1. To analyze the historical and contemporary experience of women in different parts of the world.
  2. To develop a critical understanding of women’s experiences and the social structures that construct gender, sex and sexuality.
  3. To examine how our gendered lives and identities have been structured culturally, economically, politically and socially.

The program recognizes the development of feminist and gender scholarship in all disciplines, the different contributions of disciplines in pursuing knowledge of women’s lives and gendering as a social process, and a plurality of approaches to knowledge and practice within feminist scholarship.

The WGS Program currently offers both an undergraduate minor and a gender studies track in the Master of Arts in Social Sciences. It offers students close contact with faculty who are pursuing scholarship in areas of women’s and gender studies, active in national and international networks of feminist scholars, and involved in policy advocacy and struggles for social justice. It prepares students to become knowledgeable about and conscious of women’s lives and gender processes as they pursue jobs and careers, as they move through their life course, as they further their studies at postgraduate levels, and as they work to become active and socially responsible participants and leaders in their communities.

WGS courses are designed for students who are:

  • looking to deepen their understanding of how social forces influence the experiences of women and sexual minorities (including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people);
  • seeking to understand constructions of masculinity and femininity while recognizing differences among women and men on the basis of class, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation;
  • interested in examining how notions of gender and sexuality create and perpetuate structures of power and inequality;
  • hoping to address injustices experienced by women and sexual minorities, as well as social structures of privilege and inequality, such as racism and classism;
  • wanting to learn about the contributions of women and sexual minorities in literature, theatre, music and art.