My learning this semester has been exciting and educative. As such, I have a better understanding and knowledge on women’s and gender studies. Particularly, the readings, the interactions with fellow students and instructor made the learning experience to be excellent and satisfying. As such, I was able to grasp most of the course student learning outcomes comprehensively. As I reflect on my learning, I can ascertain that I have gained a lot in taking this course.
The first objective of the course was to understand the major questions informing the field of Women’s Studies. In this case, it was noted that there are social, political and economic issues which have affected the gender balance in contemporary societies. Some of the questions which inform Women’s Studies include; what is the feminists’ theory? How does intersectionality and multiculturalism affect gender balance and more so, what is their effect on women? How do social norms such as stereotyping and racism influence gender perception? How is the concept of “women” understood? These questions helped in coming up with an effective framework which could be used to have an in-depth understanding of women’s and gender studies. Moreover, these questions helped in eliciting the needed curiosity which could help the student in seeking more information on the subject of the course.
Secondly, the course sought to define feminism and feminist activism. Feminism was defined as the comprehensive advocating of women’s rights with respect to the equality of sexes. From a deeper perception, feminism is defined as the range of ideologies, social and political movements which seek to define, establish, and attain personal, economic and political equality of sexes with emphasis on women’s rights (Hesse-Biber 48). It is noted that feminism is mainly a response to male chauvinism which holds the belief that men are superior to women in terms of ability and intelligence. Feminist activism on the other hand is the campaign to have the ideologies held by feminists heard and acted upon. This activism stems from the fact that change has to be sought since it is never freely offered hence the need to seek to change the social status quo (Moser 58). The expostulation on feminism and feminist activism helped me understand the terms in a comprehensive manner and hence helped in appreciating feminism and feminism activism.
Moreover, the course sought to explore different forms of oppression (inequality) such as sexism, racism, and homophobia among others. It was noted that inherent perceptions were behind most oppressions on particular groups of people. For instance, sexism encompassed the discrimination against women on the basis of sex and is still in existence in various societies across the globe. Racism on the other hand has led to most races being looked down upon for centuries whereas homophobia is the underserved discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation (Kakabadse et al 268). In this case, not only was the course an eye opener but also served in showing some of the perceptions held by contemporary societies which were retrogressive in nature.
Finally, the course required personal efforts for effective mastery. Hence, I put enough time for reading the course materials, handled assignments dutifully and sought guidance on any topic which I didn’t grasp. Participation in the course encompassed discussions with fellow students and the instructor and were effective in expostulating on some of the topics effectively. As such, I would recommend WMST 101 to any student which would like to understand Women’s and Gender Studies in a better way.
Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy, ed. Handbook of Feminist Research: Theory and Praxis. SAGE publications, 2011.
Kakabadse, Nada K., et al. “Gender Diversity And Board Performance: Women’s Experiences And Perspectives.” Human Resource Management 54.2 (2015): 265-281. [https://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/.hrm.21694]
Moser, Caroline ON. Gender Planning And Development: Theory, Practice and Training. Routledge, 2012.