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Women's Studies is a field of inquiry that draws on the energy and insights of people in many academic disciplines--history, anthropology, literary studies, biology, philosophy, political science, sociology, music, and so on. In fact, there is hardly an area of academic life that has not been touched (and in numerous cases, greatly transformed) by Women's Studies. Driving this development within the university is a larger political movement, originally called Women’s Liberation when it began in the late 1960s. It was due to the efforts of the women’s movement that the first Women's Studies programs were founded in the early 1970s. This interaction between political activism and academic scholarship continues to distinguish Women’s Studies from other academic disciplines. Accordingly, the goals of Women’s Studies include not just intellectual analysis, but personal and social change to improve the lives of women.[]

Introduction to Women’s Studies provides a broad overview of the issues and methods of Women’s Studies. The structure of the course reflects the values of the discipline; guest lectures, student-driven discussion, and interdisciplinary perspectives acknowledge the importance of multiple points of view and varying types of expertise. We have also assigned practical/activist activities, which provide opportunities for learning about the world by being a part of it--rather than observing it from above. Additionally, our new course format reflects the fields concerns with understanding the diversity and similarities of women’s experiences around the world.[]

Women's studies, also known as feminist studies, is an interdisciplinary academic field which explores politics, society and history from an intersectional, multicultural women's perspective. It critiques and explores societal norms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social inequalities.Women's studies were first conceived as an academic rubric apart from other departments in the late 1970s, as the second wave of feminism gained political influence in the academy through student and faculty activism. As an academic discipline, it was modeled on the American studies and ethnic studies (such as Afro-American studies) and Chicano Studies programs that had arisen shortly before it.[citation needed



The first two Women's Studies Programs in the United States were established in 1970 at San Diego State College (now San Diego State University) and SUNY-Buffalo. The SDSU program was initiated after a year of intense organizing of women's consciousness raising groups, rallies, petition circulating, and operating unofficial or experimental classes and presentations before seven committees and assemblies.[1] Carol Rowell Council was the student co-founder along with Dr. Joyce Nower, a literature instructor. The SUNY-Buffalo program was also the result of intense debate and feminist organizing led by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, and it was eventually birthed out of the American Studies department. In 1972, Sarah Lawrence College became the first institution to grant Masters degrees Women's History. Throughout the later 1970s many universities and colleges created departments and programs in women's studies, and professorships became available in the field which did not require the sponsorship of other departments.[citation needed][]

By the late twentieth century, women's studies courses were available at many universities and colleges around the world. A 2007 survey conducted by the [2] National Women's Studies Association included 576 institutions offering women's studies or gender studies at some level. Currently there are 678 listed in their online searchable database,[3] of institutions offering women's/gender studies courses and degrees with 15 institutions offering a Ph.D. in the United States.[4] Courses in the United Kingdom can be found through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.[]

Introduction to Women's Studies[]

Introduction to Women's Studies draws on feminist ideas and scholarship in developing historical, theoretical and cross-cultural frameworks for the comparative study of women and gender. Questions addressed include: What does it mean to study "women" as a group? When is it useful to focus on commonalities among women, when is it necessary to stress differences[]


? In what ways do gender differences and gendered power relations organize the social world and shape people's experiences and self-perceptions? The course aims to sharpen students' critical awareness of how gender operates in institutional and cultural contexts and in their own lives, and to give them an opportunity to imagine participating in social change.[]

Because Women's Studies has historically been an interdisciplinary activity within the university, this course is taught by a team of five GSIs and one faculty member, who share lecturing responsibilities. Units covered include histories of the women's movement (nineteenth and twentieth centuries); historical developments in feminist thought (consciousness-raising, "the personal is political," simultaneous oppressions/privilege); gender and sexuality (the social construction of gender and sexuality, coming-out stories); violence against women (feminist theories and interventions); women and work (women's work, the work/family conflict); women and religion (Christianity in the US: history and ideology; international feminism (war and international labor) and a final unit on feminist cultural interventions (hip-hop/rap and self-portraiture).[]

Introduction to Women’s Studies[]

That’s my favorite definition of feminism, and feminism is what women’s studies is about. Because the academic discipline of women’[]




s studies is an outgrowth of twentieth century feminism, we’ll start this course with some stuff on feminism and the women’s movement. Then we’ll go on to spend most of the course on just a few of the ways that men are privileged relative to women. We’ll look at how and why women face more barriers to happiness and fulfillment than do men, and how we might go about helping our world to move in the direction of gender equity.[]

My goal in introductory courses is to leave you with some long-term memories that will change the way you see the world around you. Of course, one person’s memorable event may be another’s “So-what?” Therefore, I try to approach each topic with a variety of potentially memorable tactics, and to construct a grading system that allows (even encourages) students to learn in their own preferred manner. This course outline will offer you much more than you need to do to get an A out of this course, and you will pick and choose as suits your interests, your schedule, and the approach to scholarly issues that works best for you.[]


The Centre of Excellence for Women's Studies at the University of Karachi, was set up in 1989 by the Ministry of Women Development, Government of Pakistan. The purpose of this academic discipline is to help ensure the integration of women into the mainstream of development. This object would be achieved through Women's Studies multidisciplinary programmes.
Creating an awareness and generating a debate on women's issues with a view to influencing policy-planners, the educated public a




nd women's pressure groups.
Critically examining existing theories, models and methodologies and modifying them for an integrated development of women in Pakistan.
Introducing and promoting the discipline of women's studies at College and University level.
Formulating curricula at University, College and high school level with a view of incorporating knowledge on women's issues, gender gaps in urban and rural development.
Documenting women's contributions in various fields of learning and activity.
Identifying, replicating and translating relevant material from other languages in the national language.Program Studies