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Gender studies – What is it about?

Gender studies have seldom been regarded as a topic of ridicule and disdain. But what do students actually learn and what career prospects can they have if they receive a degree in that field?

Gender Studies is a very broad subject area. It encompasses everything from feminism to transgender theory. Students take courses from all different areas: biology, anthropology, women’s studies, sociology, psychology, religious studies, ethnic studies, etc. The things you learn in Gender Studies classes are extremely varied and depend on the program and the focus you have. According to Edx.org, it increases learners’ knowledge and critical thinking skills related to diversity, human rights, and social justice and injustice.

Why is it frowned upon?

The difficulties of a Gender Studies degree lies in the fact that it is just like any philosophy oriented major. It wont have many uses unless paired with a more relevant degree from a job market perspective. Just like many studies in Humanities, prospective job offers are few.

However, the relatively few students who study something that may seem impractical, such as women’s studies or art history, went to more elite schools, and so are more likely to have better networks and job opportunities regardless of major. Their employers may also be more likely to view the critical thinking, rhetorical and writing skills honed in many humanities and social-sciences courses as quite valuable in the workplace, too.

Gender Studies is viewed unfavourably by anyone with right-wing,  moderate leftist political views. It is mostly the far left that gives the field any credit. This discipline examines the ways in which historical, cultural, and social events shape the role of gender in different societies. The field of gender studies, while focusing on the differences between men and women, also looks at sexual differences and less binary definitions of gender categorisation.

Where can you get a job with this degree?

While the opportunities are broad, this degree is insufficient in many areas and would require a second degree to fortify a job applicant’s profile. But with the right connections and additional work experience deemed necessary for an applicant, this degree might play out its cards right.

However for those who get a job, it is usually in the following fields:

  • Faculty lecturers in the fields of sociology and anthropology,
  • Cataloguing Assistant,
  • Programme Officer,
  • Editorial Intern,
  • Public Relations (PR) Executive,
  • Education in Emergency Coordinator,
  • Senior Teaching Fellow,
  • Gender Consultant and Researcher,
  • Social Media Assistant,
  • Policy and Programs Intern

Example employers are mostly in the fields of research, NGOs or charity groups: Amnesty International, United Nations, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, Change Management Group, The Media Imagine, Various Universites, Euromet Feminist Initiative, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), World Learning.

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