If I tell someone that I have a degree in Women's and Gender Studies, I often get the responses: "What's that?" or "What are you going to do with that?" How do you explain to others, especially potential employers (in this economy) the skills that Women's Studies provides that other disciplines don't? How do you dispell the false beliefs about Women's Studies and show the importance of the knowledge gained through Women's Stuides? While people in the field of Women's and Gender Studies know the advantages of it, the general public is still uneducated on the benefits of Women's and Gender Studies.
Women's Studies majors know how to read analytically, write passionately, and apply their knowledge from the classroom to the "real world." In my senior seminar, we had to write a definition of Women's and Gender Studies in 100 words (in my case, 102 words) and I think that this can be helpful in marketing your Women's Studies degree to future employers, friends, acquaintances, and anyone who might have a curious comment.
Women's and Gender Studies is the interdisciplinary examining and questioning of interlocking forms of oppression that different women face that is grounded in their lived experiences. While the experiences of women play an important role in the construction of knowledge within women's studies, it is important to question the context of those experiences. It was developed as the academic arm of "the" women's movemnet and has further developed the connection between academics and activism. Academics feeds activism, but activism also feeds academics. Women's studies encourages questioning the construction of knowledge both outside and within the discipline and its relation to the patriarchy.While the definition does not highlight all of the skills and knowledge that one gains as a Women's Studies major, it is an important first step. Understanding what Women's Studies means to you in a concise way will help you realize the marketable skills that you have.
I encourage everyone to write their own definition because so much of Women's Studies depends on personal experience. Start by thinking of the definition, then the skills, such as analytical reading, good writing skills, and the application of classroom knowledge.