Women's and Gender Studies

About the Program

Women's and Gender Studies (WMST)

Women's and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field of academic study that draws on feminist ideas and scholarship to develop historical, theoretical, and cross-cultural frameworks for the comparative study of women and gender. Women's Studies examines the category of gender and the subject of women (and men) in terms of their different and changing roles and experiences throughout history and across the world.

Since its inception, Women's and Gender Studies has expanded to include gender studies, men's studies, gay/lesbian studies, third world feminisms, and a greater focus on the intersection of gender, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality among other identities, subject positions, and systems of oppression. Women's Studies scholarship and activisim have made many contributions to academic and public discourses and debates on issues of women and men and their gendered relationships to:

  • sexuality and intimacy
  • spirituality and religion
  • the body and body politics
  • state, law, and public policy
  • health and reproductive rights
  • systems of oppression and privilege
  • family, social, and individual identities
  • work, productive, and reproductive labor
  • domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault
  • history, art, music, culture, language, and literature
  • contraception, pregnancy, motherhood, fatherhood

Currently in the United States, there are more than 600 women's studies programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Among the goals of women's and gender studies is to promote greater knowledge of women's experiences, perspectives, and contributions to all aspects of society, including law, business, science, art, philosophy, education, mathematics, technology, politics, economics, history, family, medicine, and religion. Women's studies also promotes a greater inclusion of women and women's contributions to all academic disciplines in order to correct a historical pattern of neglect, under-representation, and trivialization of women.