Gender Studies – What is Gender Studies and Why it is Important

Human civilization has always wanted to ascertain an equitable society free from exploitation, violence, and oppression regardless of gender. Even though women’s accomplishments are being acknowledged and observed everywhere in the world, and LGBTQs are deliberately getting praise in the modern world. It shows gender small-mindedness still exists in our society. It is coming from generation to generation through our traditions, economy, religion, and community. This is systematic violence, which flourishes on patriarchy’s cores and discriminations that are justified or excused, tolerated, and legislated on from one generation to the next.

Because of gender intolerance or discrimination, more than half of the world’s population, i.e., women and LGBTQs ( Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), stay a subject and inferior. Hereafter, our societies worldwide have ceased to function to recognize their abilities and potentialities exclusively. So the course on gender studies is an effort to comprehend the power relations— historical, structural, economic, and political, defining the male and female relationship in a socio-cultural context, flowing from deeply confirmed patriarchy and age-old procedures noteworthiness or dominance.

Gender Studies is a versatile academic field offered to analyze gender identity and gendered representation. It includes a vast area covering women’s studies, men’s studies, and homosexual studies. In the 60s to 70s, the Movement of Women’s Liberation encouraged the sameness in both women and men’s contribution. This helped to a significant rise in women-oriented studies and led to women studies’ introduction and promotion. During the 80s and 90s, various scholars propagated the study of sexuality.

After the 1990s, especially in the Universities of Western regions, Gender Studies got important. It has been remarked as a success of deconstructionism. It is also offered with the study of sexuality. Almost in every field like literature, language, geography, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, cinema, media studies, human development, law, public health, and medicine everywhere, this discipline is covered. It also analyzes how race, ethnicity, geography, class, nationality, and disability intersect with gender and sexuality.

Ambiguities persist on the relevance of a separate course on Women’s Studies. Dr. Anandhi says, “The advantage of having Gender Studies over Women’s Studies is that we are able to critically look at the question of gender and its inter linkages with various institutions (caste, class, state); how these institutions mediate and position men and women in different ways. Therefore, Gender Studies has an advantage of giving a nuanced understanding of social relations.”

What is the importance of Gender Studies?

  • Gender Studies aim to understand the notion of patriarchy, gender, and its inter-linkages with other socio-political fraternities like caste, religion, class, and state, and others.
  • A lot of difficulties faced by women, LGBTQs, and the third gender in today’s world. The challenges they face should make us recognize the injustices inflicted upon them as an outcome of gender discrimination.
  • Gender justice is not only desirable but also unavoidable everywhere. So Gender Studies as a discourse needs to be comprehended by scholars or any other from different knowledge streams as any other course.
  • There is a need to discuss among the scholars Emerging issues in gender studies to develop an informative and epistemological standpoint which is free from all sorts of gender bias.

Objectives of the Gender Study Course are:

  • To infer women’s issues and challenges, LGBTQs worldwide through considerations, research work, theory building, and information dissemination.
  • To introduce epistemological and ontological characteristics of gender studies to academicians coming from various fields of mastery systematically.
  • To discuss gender bias issues with the partaker to develop an awareness system and pedagogy or teaching free from all types of gender abstraction.
  • To make participants understand the improvement of gender justice and its significance to spread awareness among students and the public against endless gender discrimination rooted in our culture.
  • To develop gender-sensitive education and knowledge system.
  • To express new insights for further research, theory-building, etc. in the area of gender studies.

What are the questions Gender Studies inquiries?

Is gender different from sex?

Sex and gender are different concepts that are often used interchangeably. Sex refers to biological identity, where gender is a social construct that is an internal sense of self. 

Is gender inequality based on biological differences between men and women?

If we notice, biological differences are not a reason for gender inequality in labor-market outcomes. But social norms and cultural behavior creates the problem.

What does masculinity studies have to teach feminists?

Masculinities study is a lively, interdisciplinary field of study which broadly concerned with social formation. It tries to teach that the construction of masculinities does not generate gender roles. Gender equality implies sharing male privilege and power with women by rejecting sexism.

Is sexual orientation, genetic, personal choice, both, or neither?

A variety of theories about the influences on sexual orientation have been proposed. It is not determined by anyone’s factor or approaches but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental impacts.

What is the meaning of transgender, and is it the same as intersex?

Intersex is identified at birth, which doesn’t fit with the standard definition of male and female. But for being transgender, you have to do with your internal understanding of your gender identity.

How is power exercised and reproduced?

Who defines power as getting someone else to do what you want them to do, that is, as an exercise of power and women are never a medium of power exercise and reproduction.

What is intersectionality?

Intersectionality is a theoretical framework to understand how a person’s social aspects and political temperaments combination create a different means of discrimination and privilege based on caste, class, gender, etc.

How does popular culture influence body self-image?

Like dressing up by a girl, popular culture looks like adult women and women to look like a girl has sexualized women and girls. It portrays the body images of females.

What are the myths and realities of the male body?

There are a lot of rumors and misinformation about the male body. And men themselves offer precious little clarification.

In one of the nation’s most comprehensive surveys about sexual habits in the United States, completed by Edward Laumann and colleagues in 1994, 43 percent of men reported thinking about sex not even once a day, but preferably somewhere between a couple of times a week to a couple of times a month.

How do representations of the body change over time?

Representation of the body is socially constructed from the past, and it has been changed a lot over time. In other words, social processes shape perceptions of our bodies, and these perceptions create human experiences of the body. For example, advertising is to promote products and transfer messages, values, and ideas. And many more incidents have been going in this world by the representation of the body. And it changed a lot with time.

What role does gender play in perceptions of cultural Otherness?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines gender roles as “socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.” And some individuals identify with no gender at all.

What are the different forms of gendered violence?

Some of the ways of power are rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, acid throwing, reproductive coercion, female infanticide, prenatal sex selection, obstetric violence, online gender-based violence, and mob violence.

What role does gender play in medicine, science, and technology?

Gender norms affect everybody. With gender roles, there are many difficulties and exceptions in today’s world; it may be medicine or science or technology.

Various universities in India who provide courses for gender studies:

MA In Women’s Studies

  • Alagappa University, Bangalore
  • Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
  • Ambition Point Academy, Kolkata
  • Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
  • Bangalore University, Bangalore
  • Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
  • Delhi Degree College, New Delhi
  • Gauhati University, Guwahati
  • Goa University, Taleigão
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
  • Jain University, Bangalore (they provide gender studies too)
  • Karnataka State Women’s University, Vijayapura
  • Mysore University, Mysore
  • Patna University, Patna
  • Panjab University, Chandigarh
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  • University of Calicut, Malappuram
  • University of Lucknow, Lucknow
  • Utkal University, Bhubaneswar
  • MA In Gender Studies
  • Madras University, Chennai
  • Mumbai University, Mumbai
  • Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
  • Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology, and Sciences, Allahabad
  • Postgraduate Diploma In Women’s Studies
  • Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
  • Delhi Degree College, New Delhi
  • Dibrugarh University, Assam
  • Dr. BR Ambedkar Open University, Andhra Pradesh
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
  • Kannada University, Hampi
  • Karnataka State Women’s University, Vijayapura
  • Rajarajan Academy, Chennai
  • Patna University, Patna
  • Sophia College for Women, Mumbai
  • Tezpur University, Assam

MPhil in Women’s Studies

  • Maulana Azad National Urdu University,
  • Hyderabad Gulbarga University,
  • Gulbarga Pondicherry University,
  • Puducherry Mother Teresa Women’s University,
  • Kodaikanal PhD In Women’s Studies at Dibrugarh University,
  • Assam Gauhati University, Guwahati Goa University,
  • Taleigão Gulbarga University,
  • Gulbarga Indira Gandhi National Open University,
  • New Delhi Karnataka State Women’s University,
  • Vijayapura Maulana Azad National Urdu University,
  • Hyderabad Mother Teresa Women’s University,
  • Kodaikanal Panjab University,
  • Punjab Pondicherry University,
  • Puducherry Punjabi University,
  • Punjab Savitribai Phule Pune University,
  • Pune Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam – Women’s University, Tirupati

BA In Women’s Studies

  • Field Marshal KM Cariappa College- FMKMCC,
  • Karnataka IIS University,
  • Rajasthan Post Graduate Government College for Girls,
  • Chandigarh Diploma In Women’s Empowerment And Development Indira Gandhi National Open University,
  • New Delhi School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya,
  • Mangalore Sri Durga Malleswara Siddhartha Mahila Kalasala,
  • Vijayawada Certificate Course In Women’s Studies at Panjab University,
  • Chandigarh Tamilnadu Theological Seminary – TTS,
  • Madurai University of Madras, Chennai

Top Institutions providing courses in Gender Studies around the world:

  • Harvard University
  • Yale University
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Birmingham
  • California Institute of Integral Studies
  • UCLA College of Letters and Science
  • UT College of Liberal Arts – The University of Texas at Austin
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences – University of Florida
  • Pomona College
  • Amherst College
  • Williams College
  • Middlebury College

The Indian Journal of Gender Studies

The Indian Journal of Gender Studies is engaged in delivering a better and universal understanding of society. The journal focuses on different issues, like violence as a phenomenon, the family’s social organization, the invisibility or ignorance of women’s work, institutional and policy investigations, women and politics, and motherhood and child care, and much more.

The Indian Journal of Gender Studies doesn’t compare women and men mechanically. Instead, gender classifications are analyzed to change social attitudes and academic predispositions, which hamper a holistic understanding of contributions to the family, community, and a nation or the world.

The editors-in-chief are Malavika Karlekar and Leela Kasturi (Indian Council of Social Science Research). Sage Publications publish the journal on behalf of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Most Popular Books On Gender Studies

Without taking up the course as formal education, you can learn about the subject by reading some books about it. Some of the books you can choose to read are as follows. These books will help you know about the women-oriented issues in India broadly. It will give you a clear picture of all the problems. Those are:

  • Seeing Like a Feminist – By Nivedita Menon
  • My Friend, My Enemy – By Ismat Chughtai
  • Why Loiter? – By Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan, and Shilpa Ranade
  • My Story – By Kamala Das
  • A Life Less Ordinary – By Baby Halder
  • Writing Caste/Writing Gender – By Shantabai Dani, Mukta Sarvagod, Shantabai Kamble, Baby Kamble, Kumud Parade, Urmila Pawar, Janabai Girhe,
  • Vimal More Fragrance of Peace – By Irom Sharmila
  • Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labour – By Prabha Kotiswaran
  • Me Hijra, Me Laxmi – By Laxmi Narayan Tripathi In a nutshell.

Also, there are many f certificates and diploma courses apart from bachelor’s and master’s programs. The current situation made me understand all the companies and employees about gender issues and realized gender studies’ relevance. Any addition in your resume about any course of gender studies could be an advantage for you, and you will be able to understand and fight against it. Besides all this, you could opt for government jobs or civil services.

What are the Learning Outcomes of the course?

  • Gender Studies will help teachers, scholars, and academicians minimize gender bias, whereby students will also develop neutrality.
  • A gender bias-free teaching-learning process can help give rise to positive social change towards an equalitarian society.
  • A faculty member who values, practices, and espouses gender equity would inspire his/her students to make their career decisions in an unbiased and confident manner leading to the comprehensive behavior of males and females in all areas of study and profession.
  • This course provides academic standpoints and inputs to policy-makers, whereby they will address gender bias problems in society by enabling policy-making and legislation.

What are the Scope and Career Opportunity after studying Gender studies?

  • There will be possibilities for Gender Studies graduates to found their careers in government and politics. Advocating and helping out cases of unjustly accused people, or are victimized, will be helped by these people.
  • With the help of Gender Studies, those who want to contribute to society’s development can help women and people with alternate sexualities and gender identities.
  • This study will have a high opportunity in the future. Because as organizations and industries are expanding, so are the urban areas and societies.
  • Also, researchers and enthusiasts of the subject can follow gender studies.


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