Women & Gender Studies combines the substance and methodologies of many disciplines as we study women and gender.

Students in UIS’ Women & Gender Studies minor explore the construction, experience and questioning of gender and sexuality as key facets of human identity. Students investigate history, culture, society, psychology, science, communication, or art to see how human activities are produced, experienced, and interpreted by gendered subjects of different races, classes, nationalities, sexual orientations, religions, generations, and historical periods. Our goal is to introduce students to the basic approaches of this study in a variety of fields so that they will be prepared for the challenges of leadership in the 21st century.

"The WGS program is amazing, and it changed my life. There are a lot of classes that are a part of the program that should be required for everyone to take. I'm really glad UIS has this program."

WGS minor

Our Program

Women & Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary program that combines the substance and methodologies of many disciplines, such as history, sociology, anthropology, and more. Most of our courses are cross-listed with other academic programs.

According to a 2021 survey of WGS students, 83.9% found that WGS courses raised and developed student awareness about how gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality impacts individuals' and groups' lives. In addition, 82.5% found it contributed to students' personal growth, and 74.6% said it expanded their academic knowledge and skills.

Studying Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Women & Gender Studies courses and faculty are diverse, but united in their study of some aspect of sex, gender, and sexuality. By ‘sex’ we mean aspects of the body that allow us to be categorized as female or male; ‘gender’ is the meaning given to these sex differences—the stereotypes, assumptions, and expectations society attaches to difference. ‘Sexuality’ refers to sexual behaviors, identities, desires, discourses, and representations–in their social, cultural, and historically specific contexts. We know, however, that each of these alone cannot explain all of human experience, so we study other factors such as race, class, ethnicity, nationality, physical ability, culture, and power as they combine with what anthropologist Gayle Rubin termed “the sex/gender system.”