Department of Women's and Gender Studies
WHAT IS WOMEN'S AND GENDER STUDIES?
Women's and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to university study which prepares students to critique power structures relating to sex, sexuality, race, class, age, abilities, belief systems, and other societal institutions. Women's and Gender Studies exposes and adresses systemic oppression and explores constructions of gender. Formerly known as Women's Studies, this discipline started out as “the intellectual and research arm of the women's movement." (Humm, The Dictionary of Feminist Theory, 1990). Women's and Gender Studies, however, is more than traditionally academic; it is also committed to activism, connecting theory with practice. Hence, Women's and Gender Studies students have options to include community work as part of their degree program. This can be achieved with internships, as well as through course and club projects.
In Women's and Gender Studies classes, students learn about the social construction of sex and sex-role socialization; gender identities; masculinity, femininity, and trans identities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues; women's history; feminism; global perspectives on women’s lives; health and reproductive issues; the politics of sex; images of women in literature; racial and cultural differences; educational issues related to gender and race; empowerment through education and self-defense; economics; parenting; images of women and men in the media; the exploitation of children; the psychology of women; and so much more. Women's and Gender Studies also prepares students for a wide range of careers. Today, issues such as sexual harassment, sexual orientation differences, gender identities, racism, child care, etc. are issues being addressed by employers. With a major or minor in Women's and Gender Studies, students can earn an undergraduate degree which will make them more attractive to future employers. See the "Careers in Women's and Gender Studies" page.
The program in Women's and Gender Studies at William Paterson is over 30 years old, making it one of the oldest such programs in the country. An interdisciplinary course of study, the major provides career opportunities in education, social services, business, the arts, communication, law, politics, medicine, the sciences and a host of other fields. Graduates are working in diverse occupations as academics, communication consultants, spiritual leaders, union organizers, advocates for social, health and human services programs, art therapists, librarians, lawyers, law enforcement professionals, fundraisers, youth educators, counselors, and in numerous other professions.
Because of its interdisciplinary nature, the course of study is designed to provide historical and multicultural perspectives on gender, sex, race, class, religion and sexual orientation, and their impact on everyday life. Women's and Gender Studies courses focus on opening intellectual horizons and links with traditional academic disciplines. Many students who major in Women's and Gender Studies may also have a major in another field, such as history, political science, business, communication, psychology, English, art, communication, education, or sociology. Those in other disciplines often select Women's and Gender Studies as a minor. Men as well as women major and minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Non-traditional students seeking career changes are also attracted to this field of study.
The Department offices and resources are located in rooms H205A, H210, and the Tower of Hunziker Hall.
ACCENT ON ENRICHMENT
In addition to course offerings, the University is home to a growing feminist community. The Feminist Collective is a student government chartered group established to provide a forum for addressing feminist issues as they impact on students' lives. Open to the campus community, the Collective sponsors speakers and performances among its many activities.
The Women's Center, established in 1993, serves as a drop-in center, resource center, and provides counseling, crisis intervention and support groups to meet student needs. In conjunction with the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, and other campus groups, the Center develops year-round programming, with special events scheduled to coincide with Women's History Month each March.
Department of Women's and Gender Studies
Wayne, NJ 07470
(973)720-3547 Fax: (973)720-2912
Chairperson Dr. Arlene Holpp Scala:
This site was authored by Dr. Arlene Holpp Scala.