The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program (WGSS) is an interdisciplinary program encompassing feminist studies, masculinity studies, and sexuality studies. The program is committed to a multicultural curriculum that sustains and integrates diverse perspectives. WGSS courses emphasize participatory education in which student involvement, critical thinking, and personal insight are encouraged and made relevant in the learning process. Students who major or minor in WGSS gain experience off-campus in the nation's capital through an internship placement in an organization or agency whose mission embraces some aspect of women's/gender/sexuality studies.
A degree in WGSS opens the door to a variety of challenging careers in a wide spectrum of occupations. An undergraduate education in WGSS also equips students with a range of skills which are highly valued in the 21st century labor force. The curriculum prepares students for graduate study in the fields of women's/gender/sexuality studies or for advanced study in traditional disciplines and professional fields. AU students can combine graduate-level coursework in WGSS theory, current issues, and research with a program of study in a traditional discipline leading to the MA or PhD degree. Participating graduate programs include anthropology, art, communication, economics, education, government, history, international relations, literature, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.
Working as a Research Intern at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, I have gained invaluable experience and mentoring in analyzing data pertaining to the status of women. As an intern for the Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa project (www.swmena.org), I have explored cross-cultural issues and have had the opportunity to examine feminism as it pertains to women of different ethnicities, religions and classes; furthermore, having the chance to study women in different countries (Lebanon and Morocco) gave me a first-hand experience with translation and the problematic issues that accompany it. I helped in the creation of three topic briefs, on women in Lebanon, as a follow-up analysis to the survey conducted in the country: "Economic and Educational Status," "Control of Financial Assets," and "Women's Freedom of Movement and Freedom from Harassment and Violence," as well as worked on creating a Tool Kit for Lebanese NGOs. (On right in photo.)
My internship at the Feminist Majority Foundation taught me valuable skills in the field of non-profit work, including research, networking, and writing. I assisted on a Violence Against Women project that brought to my attention the necessity of support for victims of violence and increased my ability to critically examine grant-funding programs. Through my work for the Campus Outreach project, I participated in the Choices Campus blog and gained experience in writing, activism, and general outreach.
A sampling of positions AU Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies graduates have held:
- Marketing Assistant for National Museum of Women in the Arts
- Lobbyist for the ACLU
- Public Relations Associate for Girls Ink online magazine
- Development Associate for non-profit organizations
- Employee for International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
- Employee for American Bar Association, working on CEDAW issues (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women)
- Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill
- Analyst for Democratic polling and consulting firm
- Fundraiser for domestic violence shelter
- Communications Director for Greenpeace
- Social worker
- Director of Communications at United Way
- Staff at a battered women's shelter
- Affirmative Action Officer
- Counselor of pregnant teens
- Family counselor
- Women's health coordinator
- Clinical therapist