What can you do with a degree in Women's and Gender Studies?
Many people ask what one can "do" with a degree in Women's and Gender Studies. In addition to providing students with a well-rounded education and critical thinking, reading, and writing skills, there are many careers that rely on a solid understanding of Women and Gender. For instance, one could work for a non-profit raising money for women's causes, counsel women at a domestic violence shelter, organize for gay rights, work on equity issues for the government, address issues of work-family balance in human resources at a company, teach, act, paint! There are a huge number of fields for which understanding the complexity of gender is essential. The Ontario government also recently introduced a Gender Studies course to its high school curriculum which began in Fall 2011; this means that WGS should soon be a "teachable" in Ontario. In British Columbia, Women's and Gender Studies is already considered a teachable as part of the social studies curriculum.
What have some of our students gone on to do?
I recently graduated from the Acadia University Women's and Gender Studies Program with honours. I have accepted a CIDA internship with the Malawi Government in the capital, Lilongwe. My position is a gender specialist working on promoting gender equality within the civil service.
~ Holly Woodworth, BA Hons 2011 (Women's and Gender Studies with a Sociology minor)
For my first summer after graduating, I'm working at the University of Toronto's Postgraduate Medical Education Department. My undergraduate degree in social sciences piqued my interest in current events and critical literature. I've been keeping busy with lots of readings (for personal enjoyment of course!) by amazing female authors that I didn't necessarily have the opportunity to read for my course work – Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, Ami McKay's The Birth House, and Shilpi Somaya Gowda's The Secret Daughter. It says a lot about the quality of the programs at Acadia when students are finishing their degrees and they're still eager to jump back into books, while using the analytical and communication skills they gained at school.
In September, I'm embarking on a ten-month internship at the provincial legislature in Ontario. The Ontario Legislative Internship Program (OLIP) is a paid, non-partisan program run annually with a group of ten interns from across the country. I'm excited to bring everything I've learned in political science and women and gender studies to bear on the daily happenings of provincial government and politics. That being said, I'm also eager to get back to school in the years to come so that I can continue to challenge the status quo and find creative, meaningful ways to live politically as a feminist.
Taking courses in women and gender studies reminded me of how many young, smart, thoughtful women are walking around campus and the passion that we can collectively harness. My classmates and professors kept me on my toes—encouraging me to be open-minded, critical and well-substantiated. I am constantly reminded that I have so much to learn and that women face many additional challenges because of their gender. The degree is relevant and thought-provoking. These are just a few of the reasons that I'm glad to have studied in WGS at Acadia.
~ Lauren Hanna, BA Hons 2011 (Political Science with a Women's and Gender Studies minor)
completing my BA (with a double major in Sociology and Women's and
Gender Studies), I went on to receive a Masters degree in Sociology from
Acadia. Within sociology I focused my efforts in feminist research,
writing my Honours thesis on the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, and my
Master's thesis on an analysis of anti-aging advertisements in the
popular Canadian magazine, Chatelaine (both of which you can find in the
Sociology department office!). I am now working towards my PhD in
Women's Studies and Feminist Research from the University of Western
"My time at Acadia in the Women's and Gender Studies department solidified my love of feminist research and inspired me to continue pursuing my passions academically, with the hopes of one day teaching Women's Studies at the university level."
~ Jennifer Chisholm, BA Hons 2008 (Joint Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology) and MA 2009 (Sociology)