Women's and Gender Studies

Since 1982, Women's and Gender Studies at Wellesley has been committed to teaching at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and difference.

Women's and Gender Studies examines how the lives of individual women and men are shaped by broader structural forces in both historical and contemporary contexts, for e.g., nation-building, globalization, economic developments, and the legal system. Women's Studies continues to reflect in its curriculum and faculty research the constantly changing directions that multiple first and third world feminisms are taking today.

Here are some of the things recent Women's and Gender Studies students have said they have learned in our classes:

"For me, the most important part of this course was learning to question assumptions that I make on a regular basis. I also learned that to most accurately understand a situation, it is essential that you try to see it through the view of the person being affected and try to put away your own norms and values."

"In Women's and Gender Studies I learned to question the gendered structure of the world. I learned that both women and men have their own specific problems depending on where they live, how they view themselves, how others view them, etc."

"What is the norm in one culture may not be the norm in another. Just because we are women doesn't mean we're all the same!"

"We learn about different perspectives on women's rights."

"Women's and Gender Studies focuses on breaking down the binary system that is prevalent in most societies worldwide. It focuses on gendered stereotypes and how to look past them."

"You study how political situations affect women and people's view of women, how history affects the view of women, how nationality affects the view of women."

"You learn about the struggles and achievements of women throughout history and around the world."

"Women's and Gender Studies examines the institutions that have shaped societies' viewpoints . . . Women's studies looks at feminism and other social change that has affected women."

"To me, Women's and Gender Studies provides a venue in which to explore—from myriad perspectives—the complex social realities that leads one to value the environment a women's college can offer. The department brings together students with backgrounds in history, philosophy, political science, economics, and the physical sciences, creating a classroom dynamic unlike any other at Wellesley. Issues of women's employment, healthcare, and social roles are considered from the angles offered by each of these different disciplines. In many ways, the Women's Studies Department encapsulates the liberal arts ideal, providing a classroom environment in which we can critically analyze the world in which we live. In true liberal arts fashion, Women's Studies does this with deference to the important learning that occurs at the intersection of academic disciplines."

So, what can you "do" with a B.A. in Women's and Gender Studies?

Here is a partial list of the kinds of things our graduates have gone on to do:

  • publishing/editing
  • political lobbying
  • naval service
  • public relations
  • filmmaking
  • psychology
  • divinity school
  • medicine
  • law and social work
  • business
  • sales/retail
  • nursing
  • technical writing
  • journalism
  • education administration
  • investment banking
  • substance abuse counseling
  • yacht club director
  • software engineering
  • public health/public policy
  • public policy/politics
  • graduate school in Women's Studies
  • consulting
  • international NGO's
  • founded a hat company
Wellesley Women march in suffragette movement
Child gives flower to police officer
students prepare for the tradition of hoop rolling
Archival Photo of Wellesley Student life
WWI women in front of tents