What a WGS major prepares you to do
As an interdisciplinary degree program, Women's & Gender Studies prepares its students for a wide range of career opportunities in numerous fields. Allowing students to select courses from a variety of disciplines in the arts and sciences, including history, biology, political science, philosophy, and English, WGS majors are offered a rich environment within which to develop skills in critical thinking and communication that are required by employers and post-graduate schools.
The WGS major requires students to read, write and think critically about such issues as domestic violence, gender and the media, gender and health care, employment discrimination, gender/race and poverty, among others.
In short, the WGS major prepares students to be citizens of the world: equipped to think critically about the major issues of the day; able to perform well in a multitude of jobs requiring skills in reading, writing, and oral communication; and prepared to go on to graduate or professional training in a chosen field.
Many career opportunities exist for people with an understanding of women's, gender, and sexuality issues. There is growing demand in the professions of business, law, medicine, public administration, social work, teaching, counseling, and government service for expertise on gender issues.
Business: Businesses and corporations are increasingly concerned with women's issues such as sexual harassment, flex-time, parental leave, pay equity, and equal employment opportunities. Majoring in Women's Studies particularly helps professionals in these fields to learn how male/female interactions affect the business environment, to gain an understanding of federal, state, and local equal opportunity legislation, and to explore differences in women's and men's managerial styles. Graduates of women’s studies programs are increasingly being used as consultants in industry, higher education, insurance companies, and personnel firms.
Education: A degree in Women's Studies helps professionals in these fields to become aware of sexist, racist and other biases in textbooks, learn about subconscious classroom behaviors that limit students to stereotypical roles, and explore non-sexist teaching models and curriculum integration. Graduates of women’s studies programs find employment as teachers, counselors, librarians, program directors, and in university residence life and campus leadership.
Media and the Arts: Majoring in Women's and Gender Studies helps professionals in these fields to become aware of sexist, racist and other biases that have historically affected media/arts production and content, as well as to develop an understanding of their impact on issues related to women, gender and sexuality. Graduates of women’s studies programs find employment in the arts, arts administration, art therapy, arts administration, writing, editing, reporting, film and video production, marketing and museum studies
Politics and Law: Majoring in Women's and Gender Studies helps professionals in these fields to learn how women have been excluded from the political process in the past, examine how women are working to achieve political empowerment today, and explore women's public policy issues. Graduates of women’s studies programs work as lawyers in the realms of environment, public interest, affirmative action, immigration and women’s advocacy; they also fins work as lobbyists, and in careers of public affairs and policy making.
Non profit and government service: Many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations focus their missions around making a difference on issues related to gender and sexuality. Professionals in these fields offer assistance to survivors of abuse and assault, people in need of safe reproductive and sexual health services, those in need of family assistance, low-income parents, girls needing positive role models, and many more. Graduates of women’s studies programs find employment in the areas of policy-making and lobbying on behalf of human rights, gender and sexual equity.
Social Work and Psychology: Majoring in Women's and Gender Studies helps professionals in these fields to explore sexist biases in therapeutic models, gain an understanding of the common concerns experienced by female clients, such as battering, rape, incest, body image, and self-worth, and relate women's personal issues to the social construction of gender. The fields of clinical psychology, social work have been revolutionized by Women’s and Gender Studies scholarship over the past 20 years and is a major area of interest for Women’s and Gender Studies graduates.
Medicine and Health Care: Majoring in Women's and Gender Studies helps professionals in these fields to explore sexist biases in research methods and treatment, and gain an understanding of the common concerns experienced by female clients. Graduates of women’s studies programs find employment as doctors and nurses, health service supervisors, health education and health counseling, and women’s health care.
Advanced Degrees: Majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies provides students with an excellent background to pursue an MD, JD, MSW or PhD; as well as advanced degrees in Nursing, Divinity, Education, Economics, International Relations, Business Administration, and Library Science.
Students who have graduated with degrees in women's & gender studies nationwide report a variety of post-graduation occupations. The following list was compiled based on an article by Amber E. Kinser ("What Can You DO with a Women's Studies Major?"), published in Women's Studies Program Administrator's Handbook, by the National Women's Studies Association (2006). Below are some of the occuptions listed in Kinser's article:
Democratic Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Staff attorney, Battered Women's Justice Project
Fourth grade teacher
Social Services/Human Rights
Director of HIV Services at a community healthcare center
Director of a women's center
Director of a city's Housing and Neighborhood Development office
Program Director for a non-profit organization
Assistant director of a university alumni association
Battered Women's Center Administrator
Development Director at a non-profit environmental organization
Homeless Shelter Coordinator
Community Educator & Trainer for Abused Women's Advocacy
Counselor for Domestic Violence Shelter
Crisis Advocate, Harriet Tubman Center
Advocacy for Women & Children
AIDS Project worker
Assistant features editor at Elle
Medical Clinic Administrator
Mental Health professional
Business Systems Analyst
Small business owner
Vice President of an Interactive Media Services company
Web design and web development
Computer Information Systems Specialist
Many students graduating with undergraduate degrees in women's & gender studies also choose to go on to graduate or professional training (as the job list indicates). Graduates of the UofL Women's & Gender Studies Department have gone on to law school, medical school, and graduate studies in both the humanities and social sciences.