What You Can Do With This Education

Barbara F. Luebke and Mary Ellen Reilly conducted interviews with Women and Gender Studies graduates from around the U.S. to learn about where and how they applied their Women and Gender Studies education.

These are some of their findings:

  • All graduates reported that Women and Gender Studies taught them valuable critical thinking skills; many said their education gave them the confidence to pursue careers traditionally held by men.
  • Many Women and Gender Studies graduates chose to work for social change. Graduates took jobs as battered women’s advocates, teachers, librarians, HIV educators, and lawyers.
  • Graduates had a diverse range of careers in journalism, small businesses, government, social services, banking, medicine, law, higher education (student services or women’s centers) and the publishing industry. UIS graduates with a WGS minor have gone on to important positions with Planned Parenthood, the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, the University of Illinois and numerous other employers and internships.
  • Students have gone on to graduate school in law, education, sociology, and a number of other fields.


The following are comments from just a few students in our program:

  • “These classes helped direct me to the career I am pursuing. I plan on attending law school and eventually doing advocacy work for women and children….The courses I took in Women’s Studies were the most influential classes I have taken.” –WMS minor student
  • “My abilities, self-confidence, and resourcefulness have greatly improved as a result of my experiences in Women’s Studies courses at UIS.” –Former graduate student
  • “My Women’s Studies course has assumed greater and greater importance to me since I took it. It is one of the courses that will be a turning point in my life, since it changed my perception of the world, my culture, and myself.” –International student now in doctoral program

Lastly, according to the 1999 survey for Women’s Studies Program Review, 64.2% of our students reported a positive impact of Women and Gender Studies courses on their careers, and 48.1% reported a positive impact in their competence to perform the job.