What Is Women's Studies and Why Does It Matter?

By Molly Scott '17
Women's Studies Program Intern

wmst   Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary field. This can
  make it difficult to answer the question "what is Women's
  Studies?" But it also means that students can tailor their
  program to reflect their own interests. For example, as an
  English major I am concerned with gender in fiction and
  writing, so I took ENG 220 Literature and Gender, which
  turned out to be one of my favorite classes at Marist. In
  Women's Studies classes, race, class, and sexuality are
  discussed as well as law, science, history, and more. In
  short, Women's Studies course helps develop a deeper
  understanding of issues within many disciplines and fosters  
  knowledge that can have real-lfe applications.

At Marist, the Women's Studies Program offers a minor, which requires students to complete HIST/WMST 130 Introduction to
Women's Studies as well as 5 other courses. The Gender Studies Pathway in the Marist Core helps students complete 4 of
these courses as part of their Core requirements. Minoring in Women's Studies indicates to employers that you are aware of
and sensitive to gender issues. It also usually signals that you can write and articulate your ideas well.

I am taking Introduction to Women's Studies now, and the course has confirmed for me that I made the right choice to minor in Women's Studies. We cover a wide variety of topics that all connect back to Women's Studies as a discipline as well as
discussing important current and historical events. It is also a space where students can consider how the course itself should
be taught and what changes could be implemented to make the minor more inclusive.

What I have learned so far through my minor is that Women's Studies remains an important area of study today. many of the
most important issues currently facing society are gender issues, including the implementation of Title IX, transgender politics
and representation, the gender wage gap, the gender dynamics of the presidency, and issues concerning reproductive rights.
Students who take Women's Studies classes have the chance to talk about these kinds of topics in the classroom and are
prepared to contribute to discussions about them in their workplaces and communities as well. I have personally found
Women's Studies to be an increasingly informative area of study that has made me a better critical thinker inside and outside
the classroom.