FORTY YEARS OF WOMEN’S STUDIES
By Beverly Guy-Sheftall, NWSA President
WOMEN’S STUDIES, AS A DISTINCT ENTITY within U.S. higher education, made its debut in 1970 with the establishment of the first program at San Diego State University. Forty years later, there are more than 900 programs in the U.S., boasting well over 10,000 courses and an enrollment larger than that of any other interdisciplinary field. And women’s studies has gone international in a big way: Students can find programs and research centers everywhere from Argentina to India to Egypt to Japan to Uganda—more than 40 countries in all, from nearly every region of the globe.
As it has developed on individual campuses, women’s studies has also reached out to a wider audience by creating a wealth of scholarship in print. The U.S. can now boast more than 30 refereed women’s studies journals, and 2009 hundreds of monographs in the field have been published by university presses and trade houses.
Want to earn a doctorate in women’s studies? You have 13 choices of programs in the U.S., plus those in Canada, Australia and England. Want to teach? Colleges and universities across the nation routinely advertise faculty searches in women’s studies programs and departments, and award prestigious endowed professorships in the field. Want to put your degree to work outside of higher education? There is a growing domestic and international market for women’s studies graduates in government, policy and research institutes, foundations and nonprofit organizations.
For the full version of this article, pick up a copy of the Spring 2009 issue of Ms. on newsstands, or have a copy sent to your door by joining the Ms. community at www.msmagazine.com.