WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES?
Many students find Women’s and Gender Studies courses personally rewarding and intellectually exciting, but they may wonder about how practical it is to minor or major in Women’s and Gender Studies. What are the implications for employment, graduate, or professional school?
Like any liberal arts field, Women’s and Gender Studies provides a fine general background for further education and career training. This is because a liberal arts graduate has a combination of brad knowledge, specialized knowledge, and critical thinking skills, all of which contribute to the person’s ability to solve problems of all sorts in later employment. Most employers and professional school admissions officers are very interested in the liberal arts student who has good grades and good recommendations, almost regardless of field.
There are also some fields in which a focus on women’s experience and an analysis of gender differences is clearly an advantage. These include counseling and human services, education, law and labor relations, literature and the arts, journalism, many of the health care fields, business and government.
Counseling and Human Services
Many Women’s and Gender Studies majors, especially those who are also majoring in sociology or psychology, have a strong interest in human service fields. Women’s and Gender Studies students participate in a wide variety of internship placements in which students can analyze and test their career objectives in human services.
During internships and after graduation, Women’s and Gender Studies majors and minors have worked with community agencies offering services to women, such as battered women’s shelters, rape crisis centers, and multiservice counseling centers.
Students interested in human services have also chosen to go on to more advanced degree work in applied sociology, counselor education, psychology, social work, or human services.
Because Women’s and Gender Studies provides a critical perspective on traditional fields of knowledge and curricula, it is not surprising that Women’s and Gender Studies majors and minors also gravitate toward college teaching careers. Graduates of UMass Women’s and Gender Studies have earned advanced degrees in history, American studies, literature, and sociology. Women’s and gender studies are also important components of preparation for K-12 teaching careers.
Law and Labor Relations
The fields of law and labor relations continue to offer career opportunities in which feminists can work to improve women’s social, economic, and legal status. The Women’s and Gender Studies Department offers three courses which focus on women and law: WOST 290 Women’s Legal Issues, WOST 291 Family Law, and WOST 292 Family Law Practice.
Journalism and Media Careers
Women’s and Gender Studies majors and minors with skills in photography, film or video, and writing are often attracted to careers in the media professions. Involvement in such careers can be an effective means of helping to change public attitudes and perceptions about women and men. They can also lead to creative and challenging work. Although UMass Boston does not offer a journalism degree, students can acquire both skills and experience in media work through courses and internships in Art, Communication Studies, English, and Women’s and Gender Studies and through work for the Mass Media (the University newspaper).
Health Care Professions
The Women’s and Gender Studies curriculum includes several courses that focus critically on the way the health care system in the United States affects women, who are the majority of health care consumers and providers. Students often express interest in improving the treatment of women as professional in health care fields. Women’s and Gender Studies graduates have completed further study in fields such as nutrition counseling, holistic health practice, and psychiatric nursing.
Business and Government
Women’s and Gender Studies may be useful for students thinking about a career in business. For example, Women’s and Gender Studies courses on such topics as women’s economic roles, the sex-segregated labor market, public policy, or social ethics are very good back ground for students intending to enter business, as well as government careers.
Just ask our students:
My Internship through the WOST department guided me to a career path that I find so incredibly rewarding. During my time at my internship with South Shore Women's Resource Center, I was able to become Safeplan certified, and through my exposure in courts in Plymouth County I landed a job as a Specialized Domestic Violence Victim Witness Advocate only weeks after completing a Women's Studies and Anthropology Double Major and receiving my degree. I have since moved onto the Office of the Attorney General, where I work as a Victim Witness Advocate as well. I have been able to serve victims of the Commonwealth for the last three and a half years, and I would not have been able to do it without the lens provided by my WOST education. I believe I am more compassionate, thoughtful and understanding as an advocate, and am able to meet people where they are with an open mind and appreciation for their specific experiences and needs. - Amber Anderson
Women's Studies classes helped raise my awareness around issues of gender inequities, racism, and classism. As a teacher, I take this awareness to the classroom. Knowledge of the theories and realities of others has helped my classroom policies and interactions. Thanks WOST! - Daniella Boucher
I was a teaching assistant for an introductory women's studies class, and any doubts that I had about the vital necessity of gender studies were erased by the experience. For many students, it was the first time they'd been asked to consider and reconsider ideas that they'd taken for granted about gender, race, class, sexual orientation, power, and privilege; it was amazing and energizing to watch students passionately discuss and challenge social inequalities. It was a great reminder as to why I majored in Women's Studies. - Dawn Slack
"What can you do with a degree in Women's Studies?" During my time with the WOST program at UMass Boston, I realized the answer to that question is: "Anything and everything!" I can promote my WOST degree as having attained expertise in diversity. My WOST degree is the most important part of my resume. - Dianne McDonald
Women's studies courses have given me tools that have allowed me to contemplate and challenge patriarchy and gendered discourses that occur not only in my everyday life, but also within the university. Women's studies has been very powerful in helping me to look critically at and offer different perspectives on the material I learn in my other courses at UMass. - Clara Hendricks
WOST gave me a foundation for mindful mothering. My young sons are already aware of social gender issues thanks to practical inspirations from WOST. - Nicole Peck
Taking a WOST course for the first time last spring was an eye-opener. In addition to providing me with a more global perspective on many issues, some of which I had not previously been aware of, I was NOT required to "check my brain" at the door of the classroom. There were many intelligent, thoughtful, multidimensional, respectful conversations and debates that were openly encouraged throughout the semester on an incredibly diverse number of topics. - Dori Gilbert
Being a woman with a women's studies degree was the link that has connected dreams of becoming inspired and becoming an inspiration to all sisters and brothers. The education gained from the entire experience cemented a woman warrior inside me, who fights to protect and spread moral justice and help to teach the art of equality. - Trista Allman