What Can You Do With a College Degree in Women's Studies?
Women's Studies majors pursue careers and graduate education in many different fields.
Women's Studies prepares students to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to
become leaders in many different occupations, from business to education, community
organizations to government agencies. Our students have launched successful careers
as lawyers, teachers, artists, community leaders, elected officials, business managers,
and other professionals.
Clinical Social Worker
Counselors and other clinical social workers benefit from integrating a women's studies
major or minor into their professional development. Understanding the history and
development of women's roles in society can help clinical social workers provide perspective
for their clients. Graduates can use the knowledge from their degree programs to connect
clients with the most effective and appropriate resources in their communities.
Health Clinic Coordinator
Working in health clinics allows women's studies majors to combine their understanding
of the social and political aspects of women's health with their innate organizational
and leadership skills. Health clinic coordinators often handle everything from scheduling
medical personnel to appealing for funding. At the same time, they must manage relations
with neighborhoods that often face conflict with politicians and religious groups.
Some women's studies students use their degrees to launch a career in academia. As
a burgeoning specialty, many colleges and universities are growing their women's studies
departments to meet growing student demand. Likewise, many women's studies professors
enjoy the opportunity to publish their work in the commercial press instead of solely
in academic journals.
Human Rights Advocate
Because women in some foreign countries do not enjoy the same liberties as women in
the United States, many women's studies majors campaign for equality and justice around
the world. In some cases, students can volunteer or even gain jobs with international
rights organizations that monitor the treatment and the advancement of women.
Some women's studies students pursue a career that puts them in direct contact with
the victims of domestic abuse, hate crimes, or other acts of violence. Victims' advocates
bridge the gaps between law enforcement, the legal community, and medical professionals.
Experienced victims' advocates can help confused and frightened women receive critical
medical and legal attention. Victims' advocates also help their clients remain committed
to pursuing criminal prosecution for their abusers, especially in situations where
they feel intimidated or shamed for doing so.
A women's studies degree or concentration can provide a student with a valuable and
unusual perspective regarding current events. Women's studies majors can use their
writing, interviewing, and research skills to report on issues facing women, as well
as on the ways that women impact society. Today's journalists must assure their audiences
that issues facing women deserve as much respect and attention as issues facing men.
Many companies, communities, and nonprofit organizations rely on archivists to accurately
document the actions and the legacies of their institutions. Women's studies majors
can bring their perspective to archivist positions by assuring future generations
that the roles of women are not overlooked or understated. In addition, many women's
studies graduates use their roles to reexamine the history of women in organizations,
often uncovering new dimensions to history in the process.
Attorneys who complement their law school studies with a concentration or a degree
in women's studies can unlock the potential to work with a variety of specialized
cases. As the general public becomes more aware of long-term challenges such as sexual
harassment, discrimination, and domestic violence, attorneys who build a reputation
for handling sensitive cases can build strong specialty practices.
Artist or Musician
Many creative professionals use their women's studies degrees to inspire powerful
songs or works of art. The inspiring and sometimes tragic stories of women throughout
the centuries can motivate artists to achieve more for themselves, while providing
the starting points for retelling or depictions of important stories. Women have made
a consistent impact in the arts throughout history, and today's generation of creators
must work even harder to keep that tradition alive.
Battered Women's Center Director
Shelters or abused women face a unique set of challenges that women's studies majors
can use their skills to overcome. Not only must a center director find funding and
support for their facilities, they must do so in ways that protect the privacy of
their clients. Many women's shelters operate in undisclosed locations so that abusive
men cannot cause further harm to shelter residents.
Center directors must be able to assure neighbors of their safety, while facilitating
meetings with attorneys and law enforcement professionals during divorce proceedings
or criminal prosecution. In addition, women's studies degree holders use their organizational
skills to provide a comfortable environment for residents. Directors must maintain
their facilities and coordinate with housekeepers, contractors, and public utilities.
Many women's studies majors channel their fiercely independent spirit into careers
as entrepreneurs. By understanding the needs and wants of women, they can create companies
that solve problems for customers in unique ways. By leveraging their ability to tap
into women's desires, they can grow a range of businesses from bookstores to real
estate agencies that allow female clients to be served in exactly the way they prefer.
The converging trends of high malpractice insurance and the desire for more traditional
childbirth experiences have created job opportunities for midwives. Whether helping
to deliver children at their patients' homes or operating from comfortable maternity
facilities, women's studies graduates use their strong communication skills to coach
women through this joyous but challenging ritual.
As politicians work harder to court the votes of women, many elected officials have
recruited women's studies majors to their research teams. By viewing current laws
and proposed legislation through the filter of women's history, these specialists
can help their representatives to really understand the impact of law on women in
Public Relations Manager
Women tend to make most of the buying decisions in America, often selecting the kinds
of goods they bring into their households. As mothers and wives, women also influence
the purchasing decisions of the men in their lives. Recent studies show that most
single men often purchase the same brands of goods that their mothers chose.
Therefore, companies that want to maintain positive relationships with their female
customers have started to recruit public relations professionals with exposure to
women's studies courses. In addition to the strong writing and communication skills
that women's studies majors develop during their academic careers, employers rely
on their perspective into female wants and needs. This insight can affect the way
that companies launch new products or repair mistakes.
Rape Crisis Program Director
Because they understand the challenges facing victims of sexual abuse, women's studies
graduates make ideal leaders for rape crisis programs. Their knowledge of women's
health gives them the ability to help clients understand the psychological and physical
trauma of rape. In addition, women's studies majors possess the organizational and
communications skills to train teams of volunteers and staff members. Program directors
must also communicate the importance of seeking treatment to victims who are too afraid
to ask for help. To do so, they write articles and make media appearances that encourage
victims or their family members to seek confidential assistance.
A growing number of dramatic professionals are enrolling in women's studies programs
to gain insight into the real lives of women throughout history. This knowledge helps
casting directors make important decisions and recommendations that enhance the authenticity
of movies and plays. By selecting actresses that can accurately represent the lives
of women, casting directors can leave a powerful legacy for future generations.
A sign of whether a town manager is doing an effective job is whether you notice their
work. When communities function well, town managers often go unnoticed. When problems
arise, you can see citizens lining up to complain at city hall. A growing number of
women's studies majors use their skills as effective town managers or other civil
servants. Their sensitivity to the needs of women and minorities helps them make critical
decisions about community services and funding decisions.
Health Clinic Medical Assistant
As more women seek medical treatment at dedicated women's clinics, medical assistants
and nurses who enroll in women's studies programs gain a powerful advantage over other
trained professionals. Women visit these clinics to get a level of care and concern
that they cannot find at other doctor's offices and care facilities. By understanding
the wants and needs of their patients, women's studies graduates can provide a higher
level of holistic care.
Though women have made tremendous strides in business over the last century, many
women still work in substandard conditions for unacceptable salaries. Women's studies
majors that work with labor organizations identify employers that exploit women or
otherwise fail to provide mandatory health and welfare benefits for their female employees.
These activists have successfully lobbied for day care facilities in factories, extended
maternity leave, and other important benefits.
Hospital Foundation Executive Director
As hospitals strive to deal with rising insurance rates and cutbacks from government
agencies, they rely on strong foundations to provide support for long term improvements
and infrastructure. A foundation director with a background in women's studies can
help position medical care centers to appeal to women and to excel in under-served
specialties that can rally public support.
SKILLS OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN'S STUDIES MAJORS
In addition to the insight that students gain from a degree in women's studies, degree
candidates also develop a number of beneficial career skills, including:
- Strong critical thinking skills. Like all liberal arts majors, women's studies students
gain the classical ability to solve problems and think creatively about potential
solutions. Students learn from the examples of influential writers, inventors, and
thinkers throughout history. Women's studies majors benefit from an increased emphasis
on the history of female cultural and political figures, especially leaders that mainstream
liberal arts programs sometimes overlook.
- Confident oral presentation skills. Women's studies majors must present a succession
of oral presentations throughout their degree programs. Each opportunity to speak
in front of a class provides the opportunity to hone a student's presentation skills
and to reduce their apprehension about speaking to groups. These skills prove valuable
later in life regardless of the career a women's studies major pursues.
- Effective writing skills. Students pursuing a women's studies degree must learn to
write powerful essays and reports that chronicle the achievements of women throughout
history as well as the challenges that face future generations. Over the course of
four years, students may write hundreds of papers. Therefore, students gain the chance
to refine their writing skills while developing the ability to compose and edit complex
reports under deadline.
- Strong research skills. All liberal arts and social sciences majors develop powerful
abilities to ferret information from libraries and from the Internet. Because women's
studies is a fairly new concentration, many students rely on primary interviews with
subjects who have not yet told their stories to other researchers. In many cases,
women's studies majors must approach research sources with a healthy degree of skepticism.
Therefore, students enrolled in women's studies programs build skills and experience
in fact checking and verification that surpass those of students in many traditional