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Top Online Masters Programs for Women’s Studies Explain What Women Want

0 Comments 11 May 2012

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In colleges and universities across the nation, women’s studies programs allow students to investigate issues of gender and sexuality through scholarly research and debate. These programs first began to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the rise of the women’s liberation movement, and many feel this relatively new field of study is well suited toward new types of degrees, like distance learning programs. Women’s studies programs have flourished in American institutions of higher learning, taking root almost everywhere. The discipline’s popularity could be tied to growing awareness of gender equality issues in our society.

Women’s studies programs aren’t closed to men, and yet they remain largely dominated by women. Female students, or those with alternative lifestyles, are generally considered to be the most open to gender-related political discourse. Male interest in women’s studies is, however, growing.

Jill Bystydzienski, chairwoman of the Department of Women’s Studies at Ohio State University, points out that: these days, more male students than ever are interested in women’s studies. She tells the OSU student newspaper, The Lantern, that when she began teaching women’s studies in the late 1970s, there were few male students and no male scholars of the discipline. Today, OSU’s Department of Women’s Studies boasts 13 male students pursuing majors, minors or postgraduate degrees. One in five of the students in its lower-level and undergraduate classes are men.

Students and professors women’s studies agree that women’s studies are relevant to men. Bystydzienski says, “The classes give them an opportunity to learn about how our world shapes who we are as females and males, how gender and other inequalities — social, class, sexual, age-based — are re-perpetuated in visible as well as subtle ways.”

Crystal Kile, a professor at Tulane University, shares her personal experiences with male women’s studies students in a 1997 forum discussion with colleagues at universities around the country. Kile writes, “There is a significant portion of the rising generation of men who really want to figure out how not to oppress and contribute to the ongoing oppression of women, and figure out how to live more satisfying lives as men.”

Many of her own male students, she reveals, used what they learned in her classes to empower the women in their lives. She continues, “These guys were particularly concerned with learning how to encourage their wives, girlfriends and daughters: When one guy’s fiancee wanted to drop out of school because ‘I’m going to be your wife and you’ll take care of me,’ he talked her out of that notion using essays about women and poverty and the economics of sexism from the reader!” (Image)

Indeed,women’s studies may remain relevant for both genders because sexism continues in the 21st century. A recent article in the U.S. News reports that many men remain unnerved by female professional success; qualified women remain less likely to be hired than men for the same positions; and the wage gap remains significant. As barrier continue to breakdown and become antiquated, a thorough look at these changes to the status quo is in order to ensure that the progress continues in a methodical and logical manner in order to avoid unrest and stave off setbacks.

Drew Hendricks is a social media and SEO enthusiast that spends his free time browsing the internet and playing frisbee golf.

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