Why you should take a women and gender studies class
By: Robyn Welsh, Publishing Editor
The women and gender studies class I took last winter, WGST 2205 – Global Gender Issues, was one my favourites so far. As the course progressed, I saw my classmates have realizations about themselves and society. I could almost feel individuals becoming more empowered.
Maki Motapanyane, a women and gender studies professor at Mount Royal University, teaches her classes with an intersectional approach. Intersectionality is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” By respecting marginalized groups and recognizing both shared and different experiences, intersectionality is essential for understanding and discussing gender issues.
One of the important issues discussed in many women and gender studies classes is sexual violence and assault. Sexual assault and gender discrimination happen everywhere, and it is important to be aware of its’ prevalence on campuses. A survey conducted with 20,743 University of Virginia students sheds light on campus sexual violence. According to the study, at University of Virginia, 11.2% of all students and 8.8% of female-identifying students had “experience[d] rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.”
Other topics of conversation topics often include gender in workplaces, societal gender expectations and roles, variation and similarities in global gender issues, sexuality, sexual health and rights, class structures and more.
So if you’re looking to fill a community and society GNED slot or another elective, consider a women and gender studies class. We all know how frustrating it is to complete a class and feel as though you’ve taken nothing from it. In women and gender studies, the information you will learn is informative and relevant.
Featured photo from the Calgary chapter of the Women’s March on Washington.