Women's and Gender Studies

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Women's and Gender Studies Overview

As a student of women’s and gender studies, you will gain a profound understanding of how to influence ongoing political and economic inequalities. You’ll explore how media and marketing construct women and disempowered bodies in manipulative ways as you learn that feminism is about addressing institutionalized inequality for all people. Studying these topics at Chatham is particularly rewarding, as issues related to gender are at the forefront of Chatham’s identity and mission.

Degrees Offered
  • BA
Program School

Women’s and gender studies is an engine of self-invention, a path opening into life-long learning through the study and practice of intersectionality, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

—ALEXANDRA REZNIK, ’11, assistant professor of English, women’s and gender studies coordinator

Course Spotlight: Women’s Leadership in the 21st Century

Chatham’s Women’s Leadership in the 21st Century course is an interdisciplinary seminar that’s open to all undergraduates (who have taken one of the prerequisites), and, according to course instructor and director of the Chatham University Women’s Institute, Jessie Ramey, Ph.D., “the jewel in the crown of our women’s leadership certificate program.”

Explore the Women's and Gender Studies Degree:

The major in women’s and gender studies offers students the opportunity for the interdisciplinary study of women’s contributions to society and women’s experiences in diverse cultures, politics, and historical periods. Students seek to understand the new scholarship on women and the new intellectual frameworks, methodologies, and feminist theories that examine gender as a social construct.

  • The interdisciplinary curriculum touches on many different topics through the lens of gender issues, which makes this program a good complement to most other majors, including psychology, English, political science, business, and marketing.
  • Students benefit from the resources of the Chatham University Women’s Institute, which provides opportunities, including programming, a certificate in women’s leadership, involvement in community initiatives, and a women’s leadership living-learning community.
  • The Women’s Institute offers small grants to support students’ gender-related research and creative projects, as well as support for presenting these projects at conferences.
  • Co-sponsored by the Women’s Institute and screened on campus, Just Films is an annual series that shows documentaries focused on gender equity and social justice, often being shown in Pittsburgh for the first time.

 

Feminist Theory

This course is designed to provide students with a critical introduction to the historical development and current controversies of feminist theory including global feminism and women’s bodies as a site of contestation. It includes a comprehensive summary of the diverse and interdisciplinary philosophical strains that make up the intellectual heritage of modern feminism.

Social Welfare: Women And Policy

This course is designed to examine current issues and policies that impact the lives of women and to explore methods of creating or modifying policies. This course will use a comparative policy framework to explore the strengths and weaknesses of current interventions regarding their promotion of social and economic justice.

Women’s Leadership in the 21st Century

This interdisciplinary seminar provides a foundation in leadership theory and models, including women’s diverse ways of leading; women’s roles as leaders and agents of change; feminist leadership styles and agendas; and the impact of intersectional identities (such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and worldview) on leadership styles and agendas.

View Full Curriculum

Our Faculty

If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.

Full Faculty
Melissa Bell
Associate Professor, Social Work Program Director
Katie Cruger
Associate Professor, Communication and Program Director, Communication & Professional Writing
Prajna Paramita Parasher
Professor, Chair, Arts, Design and Communication and Program Director, Film and Digital Technology and Interdisciplinary Design
Jessie Ramey
Academic Affairs Department Director, Women's Institute & Associate Professor
Alexandra Reznik
Assistant Professor & Women’s and Gender Studies Major and Minor Coordinator

Gender Equity & Women as Leaders

Chatham was named by College Magazine as a top three school for aspiring women leaders. "Chatham encourages students to understand gender studies, pursue advocacy and fight misogyny. Every student must take classes in the area of women’s studies. Other subject areas introduce feminist ideas into their curriculum."

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Partnerships in the Region

Chatham is home to the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship, the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, and the Women’s Business Center. These centers sponsor programs for students, such as NEW (National Education for Women’s) Leadership Pennsylvania™, an educational program for young women to learn how to be active citizens and how to influence public policy.

Scholarships and Awards

In addition to other merit-based awards and scholarships, Chatham offers awards and scholarships for women’s leadership, including the Hollander Student Award and the Heffer Family Scholarship.

Women's Leadership Certificate

The certificate in women's leadership offered by the Women's Institute at Chatham University is a multi-disciplinary program designed to equip students with the theory, skills, and practice of leadership. Students earning a certificate will be prepared to take on leadership roles in their chosen fields and beyond, from business, politics, science, and the arts to healthcare, education, non-profits, NGO’s, and more.

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Women's Institute

The Women's Institute continues the legacy of Chatham University's historic commitment to women's leadership and gender equity. It serves as a hub to draw together the university's broad range of gender initiatives, resources, and academic programs. Through education, research, and outreach, the WI works across campus and into the community promoting social, political, and economic equality. 

"Proud to be Educators in This Space": A Conversation Around Women’s Leadership

We sat down with Dana Brown, Ph.D., executive director, PA Center for Women and Politics; Rebecca Harris, MBA, executive director, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship; and Jessie Ramey, Ph.D., director of the Chatham University Women’s Institute to discuss women's leadership.