Women’s and Gender Studies

Explore the different ways that men and women have been acculturated throughout history and the changing ways that masculinity and femininity are being defined in contemporary society.

About the Major

The Women's and Gender Studies Program offers an opportunity for both male and female students to participate in a comprehensive, coherent and carefully chosen course of study that enables students to reach a more complete understanding of the history, position, and achievements of women in culture. Students will be introduced to the questions raised and methods used in new scholarship on women and gender.

Students will be introduced to the questions raised and methods used in the new scholarship on women and gender. Courses in the program answer such questions as:

  • Is it true "men are from Mars, women from Venus"? 
  • Is there a biological basis for differences in temperament and behavior between men and women or are differences socially constructed? 
  • What roles do gender, race and class play in shaping the lives of individuals, institutional policies and stratification in society? 
  • How might we bring gender equity and justice to society, nationally and globally?

A Bachelor of Arts degree in Women's and Gender Studies consists of 27 semester hours, including "Gendered Lives," "Women and Society" and "Feminist Theory"; three hours at the 400-level; and 15 additional hours. Electives include a global/multicultural requirement and courses in two of three areas: humanities, social science and/or natural science.

About the Minor

A minor in Women's and Gender Studies consists of 15 semester hours, including "Gendered Lives," "Women and Society" and "Feminist Theory," and two additional courses, one of which must be numbered 300 or above.

Departmental Honors

Students seeking Honors in Women's and Gender Studies may do so by fulfilling the following requirements:

  • A minimum average 3.5 GPA in the core curriculum and cross-listed courses
  • An overall minimum average 3.5 GPA
  • Successful completion of a Senior Research Project at a level judged worthy of honors by a panel of three faculty, with the director of the panel being a faculty member who teaches within the Women's and Gender Studies Program.

Outreach & Engaged Learning

Because the Women's and Gender Studies program emphasizes community service, feminist activism and social justice work, most courses include service-learning opportunities. Examples include:

  • African Women, Agents of Change: Service and study abroad in Tanzania and Kenya, working to improve environmental and educational resources with and for African women.
  • Women, Law and Politics: Includes opportunities to consult with domestic abuse survivors regarding legal aid, shadowing female politicians and community leaders, and working with political organizations such as the League of Women Voters.
  • Gender, Race and Class: A study of the intersection of systems of oppression that includes working with the "Run for Hunger" program, raising funds and serving meals to minority families.
  • Gendered Lives: Includes a variety of projects such as compiling a directory of women-oriented social services in the Macon area; assisting at the Crisis Line with rape and assault survivors; assisting at the Safe House with survivors of domestic abuse and their children; and assisting at Diversity House, a shelter for residents with HIV/AIDS.
  • Internship: An internship course that gives Women's and Gender Studies majors and minors an opportunity to do practical field work with agencies such as the Crisis Line, the Safe House, Planned Parenthood and the Atlanta Feminist Women's Health Center.

A month-long series of activities in honor of Women's History Month takes place every March, including such campus awareness and fundraising activities as:

  • The Clothesline Project
  • The Vagina Monologues
  • International Women's Day
  • Keynote Address

In addition, the Women's and Gender Studies program regularly sponsors activities throughout the year including self-defense workshops for women, raising funds for breast cancer research by participating in the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure," and co-sponsoring workshops on preventing date rape and sexual assault.

Undergraduate Research

Upper-level students have the opportunity to participate a Directed Independent Study that is an intensive reading and research project culminating in either a research paper or an annotated bibliography.

Faculty Interface and Class Size

[INFO NEEDED: Description of faculty, experience, interaction and average class size]

Beyond Mercer

Students planning careers in law, business, medicine, education, service, and the sciences find the study of gender in society useful. Other opportunities include:

  • Law School: This is a favorite with our many double majors in Women's and Gender Studies and Political Science.
  • Graduate School: Many double majors in Women's and Gender Studies and fields such as English, psychology, and Christianity have gone on to graduate school.
  • Marriage and Family Counseling: Because marriage and family systems are so heavily impacted by social construction of gender, Women's and Gender Studies graduates are successful in this field.
  • Teaching: Because sexism has permeated our educational curricula and textbooks in the past, many Women's and Gender Studies majors are committed to bringing the accomplishments of women and minorities into the classroom.
  • Nonprofit organizations: Many Women's and Gender Studies majors have an ethos of social commitment that leads them into work for such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Planned Parenthood and churches.