Illinois College -> Academics -> Majors and Programs -> Gender and Women's Studies

Gender and Women's Studies

 What is distinctive about Gender and Women's Studies at IC?

By emphasizing an intersectional study of gender, courses and experiences in Illinois College’s Gender and Women’s Studies program maintain connections with the study of race, class, and sexuality. This is essential for this field of study in the 21st century.  Students engage with classic and contemporary texts on women, men, gender, race, and class to study the social construction of human identity in a variety of disciplines. In fact, more than a dozen faculty and courses in many different disciplines contribute learning experiences to this program.  Professors and students use diverse methods inside and outside of the classroom to study ideas, texts, and contexts, engaging both local and global realities. The program prepares women and men to live out the college's historical commitments to social justice and offers a major and a minor. 

What opportunities are available for students who minor in Gender and Women's Studies?

Many students take advantage of the experiential learning requirement of the Gender and Women’s Studies program to engage in an activism project like Take Back the Night or the VDay College Campaign as a way to analyze theory in practice.  Students can participate in gender-focused research projects while studying abroad, and can participate in a BreakAway like the one on Gender and Social Change in Mexico.  Students who conduct meaningful research have the opportunity to present their work at events like the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Students in the past have used their GWS education to foster their leadership in various campus organizations like the Coalition for Ethnic Awareness, Progressive Action Coalition, Straights and Gays for Equality, and United Campus for Women.  Internship experiences are encouraged and students can work with the coordinator of the program and the director of career services to find a site of interest to them and their career plans. 

How does the program help me Graduate READY?

Students who have graduated from Illinois College having taken coursework in Gender and Women’s Studies have gone on to graduate programs at:

  • University of Chicago
  • The Ohio State University
  • Union Theological Seminary
  • Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • Minnesota State University at Mankato
  • University of Missouri - Kansas City

Many students have gone on to positions with service organizations both local, regional, and global:

  •   Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault
  • AmericCorps
  • The Peace Corps
  • Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program

Many other students have gone on to jobs in the fields of education, ministry, business, and non profit social service agencies.

What objectives do faculty members in Gender and Women's Studies have for students in their courses?

Regardless of the discipline, courses that contribute to the Gender and Women’s Studies program share a commitment to helping students think critically about human identity in the social world.  Faculty expect students to learn how to read well and write well, two signs that students are thinking well. These hallmarks of a liberal arts education find distinctive shape in courses that are part of the GWS program. Students who distinguish themselves in Gender and Women's Studies may be inducted into Iota Iota Iota, the national honor society for students in the field. Criteria for admission is available from the coordinator of the program.

-          In a history course, this might mean that students read about how the phenomenon of intermarriage in order to think about race and gender relations in the nineteenth century. 

-          In an art course, students might learn about feminist art activism on the streets of Manhattan as a way to inform their own sense of activism on campus. 

-          For their work in a business ethics class, students can work with the professor to focus research and analysis on how gender and race influence decision-making processes.

 students may study the history of gender and women's roles in Islam and in Christianity to begin thinking critically about the role that theological ideas have to shape culture. 

-          Masculinity as a social construct is translated into public service announcements at the end of a course in men's studies in order to educate the broader community.


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