“This looks like FUN! But what can I do with a Women’s and Gender Studies major?”
A degree in Women’s and Gender Studies prepares you for almost anything. Majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies is a relatively new option for American college students. It’s an interdisciplinary course of study that introduces students to hidden histories, explores complex social structures, confronts injustice and oppression, and hones the skills of citizens of the future. Above all, it helps students understand themselves. But how does all of this translate to a career?
What Employers Want
Employers often seek out liberal arts graduates, knowing that a liberal arts education emphasizes critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills. A liberal arts degree shows an employer that you have studied a wide variety of topics and probably have a broader view of the world than other applicants. A Women’s and Gender Studies major provides all of these benefits and more:
- Expertise in finding and using information on contemporary social issues
- An understanding of differences of gender, sexuality, race, culture, and social class
- Insight into the connections among different forms of oppression
- A foundation for analyzing inequities and initiating change
This preparation in critical thinking and social awareness is also excellent background for students pursuing graduate and professional degrees.
Real People, Real Jobs
What kind of job can you get with a major in Women’s and Gender Studies? When Barbara Luebke and Mary Ellen Reilly researched this question in 1995, they found Women’s Studies graduates working in a variety of fields—including the arts, business and industry, education, health care, the media, politics, law, social work, psychology, and sports.
They found Women’s and Gender Studies graduates holding the following jobs:
- Administrator of a human services department
- Advocate for victims of domestic violence and hate crimes
- Associate director of a human rights organization
- Business owner
- Communications consultant
- Congressional aide
- Coordinator of a women’s health clinic
- Director of social service agency
- Executive director of a foundation
- Film production assistant
- Flight instructor
- Law enforcement officer
- Manager of energy conservation
- Nurse practitioner
- Program director of a rape crisis center
- Public health educator
- Public relations director
- Social worker
- Theater staff
- Town manager
- Union organizer
“My WGS degree has had a tangible impact with my professional experience. I have approached situations more critically, utilizing different lens in order to understand multiple sides of a complex issue in order to seek resolution. Working in politics, I quite frequently find myself to be one of the only women at the table, and my degree has given me that confidence to preserve. The WGS family also highlighted the importance of sisterhood, and in this fashion, I have made sure to encourage other younger women to pursue politics.”
Kari Osmond – Class of 2009 The College of New Jersey – Women and Gender Studies Major
Majoring in WGS changed my life. I learned how to critically think about violence against women and currently serve on the executive team of a program that serves survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking. I am able to educate the community about effective primary prevention techniques, as well as serve those who have survived trauma. I am so grateful to have found the WGS program when I was at TCNJ. It helped me find my path.
Megan Osika – Class of 2015 The College of New Jersey – Women and Gender Studies Major
Women’s and Gender Studies at the College of New Jersey
At TCNJ, you can major in Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) by taking 10 approved courses or minor with 5 courses. WGS also offers 4 concentrations. All of these courses of study combine readily with other majors. If you add one math and one science course, the WGS major and concentrations also fulfill your liberal learning requirements. In addition to the WGS courses, these interdisciplinary programs include courses in fourteen departments: African American Studies, Anthropology, Art, Communications, Economics, English, History, Honors, Law and Justice, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.
The Possibilities Are Widening
Today, as more women work, corporations need employees who understand gendered issues in the workplace–issues such as sexual harassment, flex-time, parental leave, pay equity, and equal employment opportunities. The demand for expertise on gender issues is growing in the professions of law, medicine, nursing, social work, teaching, counseling, and government service. Women’s studies specialists are increasingly sought out as consultants in education and industry. And women’s agencies and organizations are adding to the demand for graduates in Women’s and Gender Studies as they take on ever more critical roles, both internationally and within local communities.
Most importantly, Women’s and Gender Studies graduates report that their education has given them the support and courage they needed to pursue their dreams.