Gender and Women’s Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update


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What are Gender and Women’s Studies?

Gender and Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary academic program that examines the cultural and social construction of gender, explores the history, experiences, and contributions of women to society, and studies the influences of gender on the lives of women and men.

Women’s studies is an academic field that draws on feminist and interdisciplinary methods to place women’s lives and experiences at the center of study while examining social and cultural constructs of gender; systems of privilege and oppression; and the relationships between power and gender as they intersect with other identities and social locations such as race, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and disability.

Gender Studies will enrich your knowledge and understandings of masculinity, femininity, sexuality, and identity and will provide an important framework for considering social issues, ranging from debates about marriage equality and new forms of intimacy to gendered forms of labor, violence, and representational practices.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Gender and Women’s Studies in the following subject areas:

  • Gender and Women’s Studies (M.Phil.) – A study of the position and representation of gender in society.
  • Gender: History, Culture, and Representation – An examination of the histories and representations of gender seeking to understand how gender is constructed by societies, institutions and individuals.
  • An Introduction to Gender, Sexuality & Relationship Diverse Clients (GSRD) – This course explores human sexuality and the broad diversity and complex interactions between gender, sexuality, and relationship diverse clients.

Studying Gender and Women’s Studies

Many courses in Gender and Women’s Studies may take place over a few days, weeks, or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Try to get involved in voluntary work as a student, in local community projects, youth groups, or women’s groups. Contact your local volunteer center to get community-project experience. People often become community development workers after working in teaching, youth work, the health sector, or other roles within the community.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers. 

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Gender and Women’s Studies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the roles of gender in society culture, history, and literature.

Gender and Women’s Studies graduates develop skills that are highly valued by employers. These skills include critical thinking, research, analysis, oral/written communication, presentation, & problem-solving skills. You may find employment in a variety of areas such as advocacy or social services-related positions, community development, business, and government. Self-employment or freelance work is sometimes possible, working as a trainer or consultant.

Your role will frequently involve addressing inequality and the projects you work on will often be in communities where women are culturally, economically, or geographically disadvantaged.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours, or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Each working day will vary depending on your scheduled activities for that week. You need to be accessible to the communities you serve. This means the work will often include unsocial hours, such as evenings and weekends, so considerable flexibility is required.

You may have an office base but will spend much of your time out and about in the community, visiting local people and groups, and attending meetings. There is frequent contact with individuals, agencies, and groups in the community. Therefore, travel within a working day is to be expected. Absence from home overnight is unlikely but may be required on occasion. Overseas work may be possible with a development charity.

Related jobs include:

  • Advocacy and welfare officer
  • Community development officer
  • Journalist or cultural critic
  • Academic
  • Health and welfare officer
  • Human resources officer
  • Political and public policy adviser
  • Social researcher
  • Teacher
  • Social worker

Further study

After completing a course in Gender and Women’s Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as education, environment, the health sector, social work, youth work.

FAQ

What is the importance of Gender and Women’s Studies?

Women’s studies and feminism not only put gender into the agenda but also offered new ways of understanding gender as a social, cultural, and political process and structure through which societies are organized.

Graduates of Women’s and Gender Studies programs understand the differences that gender makes in peoples’ economic, social, and political lives. They can identify and articulate changes that could improve people’s lives, based on gender differences.

Where can I study Gender and Women’s Studies?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

· Celebrated for her involvement in a multitude of humanitarian causes, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a leader in her own right. One of her many trailblazing accomplishments was holding the White House’s first press conference for women reporters in March of 1933 — an especially noteworthy move given women were largely excluded from the media at that point in history. Over the next 12 years, she held 348 such press conferences, all covering subjects “of special interest and value to the women of the country,”

· The First World War opened up many opportunities for British women as men went off to the frontlines. Edith Smith was the first woman to be sworn in as a police constable with official powers to arrest in 1915, approximately 4,000 women across the UK joined voluntary patrols responsible for ensuring orderly behavior in public spaces.

· While men had higher social status in ancient Egyptian civilization, women enjoyed many of the same legal rights and were largely viewed as equals in the eyes of the law.

· The US is one of only eight countries in the world that does not provide any form of paid maternity leave by federal law.

· On average, women around the world spend more than twice as many hours as men doing unpaid work. Unpaid work refers to work performed in the home, from childcare, cooking and cleaning, to collecting water and gathering firewood in communities without electricity and running water. In India, women spend an average of six hours a day performing unpaid work, while men spend only one. In the US, women spend an average of four hours a day; men just 2.5. There is no country where the gap is zero.


Mariza Halliday

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