Gender studies as a field is devoted to looking into gender identity and representation of different genders. It includes women’s studies, feminism, queer studies, and men’s studies (Richardson and Robinson, 1). Gender studies is directly associated with sexuality and is often offered together. The fields study how gender and sexuality are linked to race, ethnicity, class, disability and location. From the perspective, gender is considered a cultural and social construction of femininity and masculinity and not as a definition of whether one is male or female (Richardson and Robinson, 10). Gender is pertinent to a broad scope of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, arts history, among others. Each of the disciplines approach gender from a different and unique perspective to itself. Gender studies is however a discipline by itself and employs a wide variety of approaches for each discipline.
Women’s studies is the field that uses interdisciplinary and feminist methods to place the lives of women at the main focus of study. It is done while looking into the cultural and social pillars of gender, different structures of oppression or privilege, and how gender relates to power. It investigates the societal norms of race, gender, social inequalities, sexuality, and class. There are theories that are attached to women’s studies such as feminist theory, standpoint theory, transnational feminism, materialism, social justice, among others. Women’s studies are closely related to gender studies, sexuality studies, feminist studies, and ethnic studies.
Women studies was the main and mostly fought for course in the seventies. However, as time went by, the term gender studies took over and is currently the name that appears in degrees and academic centers (Richardson and Robinson, 2). However, the shift was faced with a lot of opposition, although it faded out due to the large number of people who saw its relevance and the amount of disciplines that gender studies contain. Gender studies is broader and incorporates most disciplines covered by women’s studies. However, there are a few differences that separate gender studies and women’s studies. Gender studies have more students enrolling both men and women due to the extensive and increased relevance of gender issues globally.
From the study material that was provided through the course, the most striking issue is how much feminists and other stakeholders fought non-stop to make sure women studies became an individual course in universities. The place of women at the time was quite low at the time and a course for feminists received a lot of opposition and criticism. Their efforts were appreciated after the long fight and currently, there are a lot of books and resources that are available for use by the people who decide to undertake the course. Gender studies is now a broad course that covers a large variety of disciplines. A large variety of cultures, ideas, and information on sexuality is incorporated to ensure the graduates are competent and all-round.
The impact of the work in coming up with and developing gender and women studies is felt and can be seen as we continue with our daily lives. Women’s studies focus on the female gender. Since its introduction, the female gender has experienced many breakthroughs. Prior to its introduction, only a small percentage of women followed the professional path due to limited access to education. However, after the course was introduced, many feminists emerged and were empowered to fight for the rights of women. More women attained education and currently, education is readily available to any person no matter the gender globally. Gender equality has also been realized due to increase in the number of learned people. It is a great change whose impact is felt by everyone globally.
The course has equipped me with a lot of knowledge and understanding on issues concerning gender, academics, and politics. I know the methods and processes that lead to any type of discrimination. With the information, I will not allow any discrimination to take place anywhere around me. I can identify and stand against any type of discrimination even while its in the development stages. I know the methods that can worsen the situation an those that can solve the discrimination for good. Criticism methods that are most relevant for each situation are all equipped on any gender studies graduate. One is equipped with the necessary knowledge required to asses, carry out, and compile a research on a group of people.
Gender and women’s studies has brought new strategies of approach on traditional disciplines It acts as a bridge between formal environments such as academics, politics, and civics, and informal environments in everyday life. One can think not only based on the environment but globally. Analyzing different cultures and societies has enabled the students to think broadly and understand the different diversities of cultures, societies, and genders. One can come up with strategies to fight against gender inequalities locally or globally. Feminist activities are also stronger and better analyzed before they are laid down, hence they are more successful (Richardson and Robinson, 24). The possibilities of changing the world are increased.
Gender and women’s studies are disciplines that are closely related but they still have their differences and similarities. The two disciplines equip the graduate with information that enables them to assess cultures and societies to come up with solutions for issues like gender inequalities. It is a good course whose impact is experienced globally.
Richardson, Diane, and Victoria Robinson, eds. Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies. Red Globe Press, 2020.