Women Studies term papers

What is Women Studies?

The interdisciplinary field which examines common subjects such as politics, history and society from a women's perspective is known as women's studies and falls under the broader category of social sciences.  Also known as feminist studies, this field examines standards in society which pertain to sexuality, class and race.

The History of Women Studies

After the second wave of feminism in the 1960s, there was much pressure placed on institutes of higher learning to develop departments that stood apart from others, that were dedicated solely to the study of women and their place in politics, history and society.  Cornell University was the first university in the United States to begin an accredited Women Studies course in 1969 and SUNY Buffalo and San Diego State University soon followed suit.  By the end of the century, the vast majority of schools in the US had fully established women studies departments. Many times women studies will fall under the same department as gender studies.

Women Studies Curriculum

With so many universities and institutes of higher learning around the world offering women studies, it is clear that the types of curriculum taught for women studies will differ from school to school.   Having said that, there are certain common themes in a typical women studies course.  These include:

  • Hands on activities such as discussion and reflection on course materials.
  • Critical reading, writing and oral expression.
  • Critical analysis of texts.
  • Understanding how gender intersects with race, class, ethnicity, religion and age.
  • Social justice and design curricula.
  • Connecting the classroom to social change.
  • Humanistic and multicultural approaches to all subject matter.

What does a Women Studies Degree Entail?

A program or major in women studies focuses on the history, sociology, culture and economics of women over the years. Courses typically tend to examine the development of modern feminism in relation to the roles of women through history in the United States and other areas around the world. Many courses also cover fields such as studies on women, history, literature, philosophy, social studies and policy.

Career Opportunities with a Women Studies Major

There is a growing demand for students with specializations in women studies in a huge range of fields, including law, medicine, teaching, social work, counseling and government services.  Women studies students are also used as consultants in industry, insurance companies, human resources firms and policy making.  Those who are attracted to the academic world can go on to become teachers of the field themselves, as there is a growing demand for women studies and gender studies courses around the world.

Recently published Women Studies essays