Committed to understanding the experiences and perspectives of women and men as gendered beings in a variety of cultures and in different periods of time, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program is one that draws on the contributions of research in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business and management. The central category of analysis is gender, the socially constructed and historically variable understanding of what it means to be a woman or a man. By investigating how gender and biological differences make a difference, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program offers students a broad, multi-disciplinary understanding of the way in which gender interacts with race, ethnicity, class and sexuality to condition human consciousness and to shape the social, political and cultural organization of human societies.
This minor readily complements majors in the humanities, social sciences and pre-professional programs. It will broaden students’ understanding of gender issues and foster a greater awareness of the specific contributions, experiences and perspectives of women in diverse situations.
Changing Lives and Opening Minds
The Gender and Women Studies program does not shy away from uncomfortable topics, especially when open talk about those subjects has the potential to change lives and open minds.
When Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes, Professor of African-American religion and theology at Yale Divinity School, talked on campus about homosexuality in black churches, one male student in the large crowd announced aloud for the first time that he is gay.
When Dr. Rebecca Plante, a sociologist and theologian from Ithaca College, visited Le Moyne to talk about the “hooking up” culture and what it means to be a sexual being, over 200 people attended and participated in a lively and honest discussion about the pressures to conform to stereotypical ideas of masculinity and femininity.
“That for me is very satisfying,” says Dr. Ludger Viefhues-Bailey, the director of Gender and Women Studies. “What our teaching does is help propel our students to grow into the kind of women and men they want to be.”
Coming soon: A discussion on how white people talk about race.