Women's and gender studies degrees in the United States have increased more than 300 percent in the past quarter-century, with more than 2,000 such degrees getting handed out in 2015 alone, according to a new report.
Women's studies programs began popping up on college campuses in the 1960s and have become more popular than ever in recent years, USA Today reported Sunday.
While the exact definition of women's studies varies from campus to campus, it is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts study focused on examining society through the lens of gender.
At Yale, the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program "establishes gender and sexuality as fundamental categories of social and cultural analysis. Drawing on history, literature, cultural studies, social science, and science, it offers interdisciplinary perspectives from which to study the diversity of human experience."
Students quoted in the article, written by USA Today correspondent and current Ball State student Casey Smith, spoke highly of their choice in studies.
One man minoring in the discipline called it a "chance for us to have a conversation and to be able to understand one another better, no matter who we are." A woman called her degree "meaningful" and said the field will be more appreciated as more of its degree-holders positively affect their communities.
San Diego State University department chair Doreen Mattingly said students "think differently about the world" when they take the classes and that "our curriculum is really about social justice."
The number of women’s and gender studies degrees in the United States has increased by more than 300% since 1990. https://t.co/bsasqeVbxZ
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 5, 2017
Wellesley College women's and gender studies professor Susan Reverby told USA Today the discipline has a "more fluid analysis of gender" than when previously taught.
"The field should grow and be different than it was in decades ago, because if it didn't, we didn't do our work," Reverby said. "Now, especially, I think we're better at intellectually helping students understand all the different forms of intersectional experience, and we're less focused on social construction."