Why Women and Gender Studies?
Women and Gender Studies Matters Because…
The Women and Gender Studies program at George Mason is aimed at helping students to better understand social constructions, race, gender, and sexuality. The faculty, staff, and students of this program work together closely and build personal connections while having one general goal in mind: equality. This program is such an important part of George Mason because the issues that women and gender studies courses focus on are problems that we still face today. Gender hierarchy and inequality are only two of a wide range of problems concerning the field of women and gender studies. The subjects discussed in these courses can provide a personal connection for a student in ways that other minors or programs cannot.
Most of the students in the Women and Gender Studies program form a close personal connection to the topics and coursework. Although some students come into the program already having a burning passion for women and gender equality, this is not true for all. Some simply take an introductory course and that is where they begin their love affair with women and gender studies. Whether you are old or new to the program, once you have that passion for the subject, it is hard to let it go. Women and Gender Studies is a subject that strikes you at the core, it is not something unemotional or impersonal. Another reason why the Women and Gender studies program is special is because of the Women and Gender Studies Center.
Unique to other programs at George Mason the Women and Gender Studies program has its own center available for its faculty, staff, and students use. The main mission of the center is to provide information for students concerning women and gender studies issues. It serves to help those interested better understand the concepts and theories surrounding Women and Gender studies. The center is a safe environment for students who share common interests in the Women and Gender Studies arena.
Thanks to our Social Media manager, Ghazal Azzizada, we have a short film that helps to answer the question: Why Women and Gender Studies?
You can view the film here
Personal Testimonies on the importance of Women & Gender Studies
My name is Christian Rafael Suero and I am not the average student. I was born in the Bronx, New York and lived there for 14 years. As a Dominican Republic native, my mother raised me as a single parent; she did what she had to do to make sure I turned out okay. I was able to attend Michigan State University, SIT Graduate Institute, and currently George Mason University and I have realized two key factors in academia;
1.how one’s own race, sexual orientation, and or socioeconomic status can play a role in their educational success and
2. the importance of mentors to guide students who have limited to no support.
After experiencing and seeing, I want solves issues of inequality within institutions through a feminist and sociological lens. It is my goal to obtain my doctoral degree from George Mason University and one day be a Director for Inclusion and Diversity at our campus. As a student of color from a low socioeconomic household, I want to support future students. I aspire to become an Higher Education Administrator, who can teach classes on research methods as well as be mentor students with limited resources. I am a feminist because leadership should not be determined by gender, race, nor sexual orientation.
Suzanne Scott Constantine
Suzanne Scott is a former Director of the Women and Gender Studies program and a Professor of Integrative studies for New Century College. Unlike most of her colleagues, Suzanne found her passion for women and gender studies later in life. After a major event in her life, Suzanne went back to graduate school where she enrolled in her first feminist theory course. After her first class, she thought, “I know this will break my world open and turn my life around, but I’m not going to stop.” Suzanne has now been with George Mason for fifteen years where she has made a huge positive impact. One of her proudest achievements is being rewarded the title of Director and her accomplishments during her time in this position. Suzanne has also had a hand in helping to create the LGBTQ focus in the Women and Gender Studies minor.
When asked to describe in her own words the importance of women and gender studies, Suzanne lists:
- “Women have traditionally and continually been made invisible at times.”
- “Women work twice as hard as men.”
- “Life is not equal between the two sexes.”
- “Gender can be expressed in many different ways and people are persecuted because of their gender expression.”
- “Anyone who has feminine traits as a man in undervalued.”
- “People are uninformed about sex, gender, and gender expression.”
Rose Pascarell has been a vital part of the Women and Gender Studies program since its beginning. Rose was the first Associate Director for the Women and Gender Studies program. Rose first became interested in the field of Women and Gender Studies during her undergraduate years. Rose uses the phrase “it blew my mind” to describe her first introduction to women studies course. The structure of this subject changed her mind and focus on how to approach things. Rose continued to pursue her interest in graduate school where she received a degree in Sociology with a focus in women studies.
During her time as Associate Director there were many experiences and events that proved to be rewarding. She is credited with helping to initiate the first “Take Back the Night” at George Mason in 1992. Take Back the Night is an annual event held during Healthy Relationship Week to put an end to sexual and domestic violence. This was a monumental time for the Women and Gender studies program because before this event “there were very few people talking out loud about sexual assault”.
Unlike other minors at George Mason, whose issues and topics discussed are extremely straightforward and impersonal, the topics discussed in the Women and Gender studies minor courses can become very personal. Victims and survivors of sexual assault can become extremely connected to course work because of the depth of conversations. When asked to describe the importance of this program, there are three specific reasons Rose gave: “provides a more realistic picture of what is happening in the world, it provides different ways to see yourself and the world, and making sure hidden history gets revealed.”