Gender and Women's Studies
Take a look at the academic discipline of gender and women’s studies, which focuses on the experiences and aspirations of women as well as the cultural construct of masculine and feminine identity.
Women’s studies began to be taught in the late 1960s and 1970s as women became more numerous, visible, and vocal on college campuses as part of a larger culture of protest in the 1960s, which included the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. The creation of a unique discipline focusing on women stemmed from the belief that women were underrepresented or misrepresented in more traditional academic disciplines. To correct this discrepancy, women’s studies programs are interdisciplinary by design, with courses touching on education, literature, history, political science, philosophy, psychology, ethnic studies, biology, medicine, religious studies, and international relations, among others, centralizing women and the theoretical frameworks of feminism within those fields.
The connection between women’s studies and gender was a major shift in the 1990s. Feminist scholarship on women had long grappled with the question of gender, including relationships among men and women, masculinity and femininity, and social power. By 2000, there were nearly 800 women’s studies programs, and most had added a concern with gender to their curriculum. In the 21st century, gender and women’s studies increasingly included studies related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identities, although LGBT studies is sometimes treated as a separate discipline.