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What is the biggest obstacle in today's culture for the students who are actively pursuing a degree in women's studies?

I just want to know what is the hardest part, or the biggest cultural roadblock for the students who are pursuing a degree in Women's Studies.
#womens-studies #culture #today #women

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13 answers

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Asha’s Answer

The biggest obstacle is society's lack of understanding on the severity of gendered issues. For instance, the social relations of gender have implicated systemic crises which have contributed to issues of social exclusion, gender-based violence, and social alienation ( Antrobus, 2004). For example, in recent news, in the United States of America, the Trump administration wants to remove the term 'gender' from the United Nations human rights documents replacing it with 'woman' (Borger,2018).Thus, by doing this , it would in fact contribute to social exclusion of trans-gendered , gay and non-conforming individuals violating their basic human rights. Therefore, it may be difficult for some people to understand the complexities of underlying gendered issues. Some may even view this degree as irrelevant to society / economy. However, do not be discouraged because it is an asset to have such degree. By using your knowledge, this could contribute to global gender justice and give an insight to economic and social policy.

Gender issues are an age-old problem for women since the days of women suffrage. The problem is that the masses of males in the corporate sector just don't want to hear it or address it. Therefore, there must be other strategies that women can take other than what has already been done. I am working on that. Beverlyn Banks

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Dr. Namrata’s Answer

There is a tendency to see Women's Studies as limited to Women's issues and concerns, resulting in an exclusionary attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community and patriarchy. The title- Gender and Sexuality Studies is broader and addresses a wide range of academic and social questions. The prospects remain limited and translate to community advocate jobs and academic faculty jobs. However, this field of education and practice remains essential to bring about inclusivity in society. Most organizations require diversity in their workforce and women's studies is instrumental in creating and maintaining such spaces in the workplace and society.

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Victor’s Answer

Hello Donovan,

Thanks for your question.

Although I am not a professor, but a women's studies student, I do feel as if I can give some insight on obstacles I have faced being a women's studies student. The main issue I have is the push back I receive from people who do not understand what women's studies is about. The idea that women/gender studies professors and students only discuss issues that men create versus the experiences and theories from an intersectional lens rather than the typical academic (euro/white heterosexual male) perspective.

A major roadblock I face is pushing myself to speak out against problematic situations in my daily life. To speak out against discriminations women and LGBTQ people face in an academic way that can potentially change a persons perspective. Also while being sensitive to the person in order to keep them engaged in the conversation to learn about how they can change by simply understanding a perspective that is not represented widely.

I hope this answered your question, Donovan. I can only speak on my experience as a male women's studies student (which is definitely different than the perspective of a female women's studies student).

Do great things,


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Amara SV’s Answer

I think the answer to your question is the "lack of passion and confidence to pursue your career goal". I am originally from Sierra Leone, Africa. Where career advisers are difficult to find in schools and universities. I am the first generational educated graduate in my family. I virtually had no one to advise me when I was applying for undergrad study at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. To become a Lawyer was the biggest career I cherished whilst in high school but my parents couldn't afford the money. So, I had the option to study Linguistics and Sociology for my bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Gender Studies. Since graduation, I found a job to work as a Gender Advisor, Gender and Development Specialist in the field. During the cause of my studies, I experienced a lot of stereotypes associated with a degree in Gender studies as a program meant for women. Many people were asking me why I chose gender for a career in graduate school. I always told people that the passion to learn and understand the socio-cultural dynamics of society is so amazing and rewarding than the financial benefit it brings to me. Gender studies helped me understand the reason why women are relegated to the kitchen, financially constraint and limited in career growth and development.
However, a society headed by patriarchy is responsible for such an obstacle but the obstacle can be overcome when you have passion and confidence in what you believe to have learned as a career. I advise you to look beyond the glass-ceiling of culture which I consider the biggest obstacle to women's career development. Focus on your passion and dedicate your time to learn what you love.

Amara SV recommends the following next steps:

Believe in yourself and pursue the cause of women.
Be a change maker and lead by example
Make difference by challenging the status quo limiting women's development.
Support feminist movement.
Challenge yourself and inspire others to join women's movement.

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Brenda’s Answer

Good morning, Donovan:
To answer your question: “What is the biggest obstacle in today’s culture for the students who are actively pursuing a degree in women’s studies?”
In my perspective, the biggest obstacle is perception. What do you expect to gain from a women’s studies degree? How are you going to make money from it? Is there going to be any long-lasting satisfaction from such a degree? Sometimes students spend time and money on a degree because it seems to further their current personal interest, or agenda, not realizing that there is going to be a time to pay back the student loan from the income made from a degree in Women’s Studies.
On the other hand, who do you hope to work for? What impact does a degree in “Women’s Studies” have on an agency who hires - looking for results? You could take such a degree and create a niche in sex trafficking; women in positions of authority; or the question of, “if being a woman is a good thing, then why does she have to look like a man?”
What is the biggest obstacle? Perception…and longevity.
Good luck and take care of yourself.

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Sydney’s Answer

In my experience studying Women's and Gender Studies in college and hoping to purse a Masters in the field, the biggest obstacle is that people don't know what it is and therefore don't value it. I often get strange looks and the staggering "what will you do with that?" question from family and friends who don't quite know what we study. In addition I very much agree with Asha's answer. Women's and Gender studies is a simple name for a field that studies gender, sexuality, race, culture, religion, and the modern world in every aspect. Many do not value this on top of the struggle that many don't think racism, sexism, and any other "ism" is a real issue.

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Susana’s Answer

Thank you for your question Donovan
First of all, there is a big problem regarding stereotypes. We are born without stereotypes, but the whole society, our family, friends... create stereotypes in the way that we think or we act.
For example, there is a recent paper in Science journal (Bian et al, 2018) that find these stereotypes in children as young as 6! We need to be really careful because not all these stereotypes are evident but all of us have them. It is important to recognize them and try to avoid them.
Hope it helps

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Youssouph’s Answer

in my humble opinion there are no obstacles, you just have the will and the courage to continue your studies.

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Peter’s Answer

My answer repeats some of the above themes: the biggest obstacle is one's own doubt that this is a good major, given that it is a new, interdisciplinary option. Once you begin to take some courses you'll find that gender studies is probably at the heart of most any form of knowledge about almost anything, which makes it possibly the "best" major for you. Why not at least try a course or two and see what happens? LOL.

Peter recommends the following next steps:

Look at the descriptions of courses that are part of majors or minors at a few universities and colleges, and see if the topics and descriptions are interesting to you.
Contact a faculty member or two at some of those places, explain why you chose them specifically (for example: your name was listed as teaching such-and-such course, and I found blah-blah-de-blah interesting about that course), asking if you could meet in person or via the internet to discuss your interests and how they might be related to what you might do after college.
visit a campus or two and arrange ahead of time to meet with a couple of Gender Studies majors and minors, and then ask them when you are there how and why they chose this major/minor

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Maureen’s Answer

This field of study is meaningful and necessary. The obstacles may be to enter it with a biased viewpoint. Enter any field of study with an open heart and mind to study the area broadly, with the genuine intent to learn.

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Lindsay’s Answer

Hi there! I was a Gender Studies Major in undergrad at the University of Maryland. I was a nontraditional student who went to college later for financial reasons and graduated at 32. I absolutely loved the Gender Studies program! It taught me so much and has had an impact on every area of my life. The biggest obstacle for me was in finding work in the field after graduating. If you major in Gender Studies, you may want to minor in something more easily employable, or make sure to do an internship with a nonprofit or other organization that may lead to employment after. I am currently going to grad school for a Masters of Arts in Counseling, and there is a Feminist Theory base that can be used as a counselor/therapist. Definitely research what kinds of jobs are out there and good luck!

Lindsay recommends the following next steps:

Research jobs in the field
Consider a minor in communications, political science, teaching certification, or something more easily employable
Keep your grades up and read every day!

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Liz’s Answer

I think the biggest obstacle is making people aware that it’s an important and valuable subject, one that requires funding and attention.

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Chian-Han’s Answer

I think this topic really depends on the different countries. The reason is different countries has different views for the women' status. I'm from Taiwan. Men and women have equal status in the working place. Nowadays, there're a lot of universities in Taiwan, and almost all senior high students need to study universities after they graduate. The reason is that it's not difficult to pass the college entrance exam. If you don't get a bachelor degree, it's almost impossible that you can get a job. After university students get their bachelor degree, they want to get a job eagerly. No matter they're males or females. If you work hard and reach the job requirement, you'll have a chance to get a promotion and more income. Most companies care your job performance, and they don't care you're men or women. The key point is that you need to prepare yourself very well before you graduate from college. If you want to get a good job, you need to have at least one-year job experiences, certificates and college diploma. My university encourages all of the students to get as many certificates as they can. We also offer different opportunities of internships for students. Most of the married couples need to work to support their families. Hopefully, my advise will helpful to you.