Women in society today face many challenges. The interaction between personal and
professional identities, at home and at work, presents all of us with new responsibilities
and opportunities. Complex family arrangements are required in order to pursue career
paths, and handling these arrangements has traditionally been the responsibility
of women in our culture.
Moreover, there are many possibilities for women in the public sector in today's
society. Women's Studies prepares students for a world in which gender operates
as a significant factor in all that we do. Women's Studies has emerged out of the
women's movement. The notion of equality was and still is the primary impetus behind
this new area of inquiry.
The role of women in history and in society has not been adequately represented
in traditional disciplines. For instance, what role have women played in developing
our concepts of the social sciences or of the humanities? Initial attempts in Women's
Studies scholarship were aimed at recovering the role of women in traditional disciplines.
Subsequently, Women's Studies scholarship focused on distinctions at the root of
the women's movement the distinction between gender and sexuality, and the distinction
between power and oppression.
Gender is a social term; sexuality is a biological one. How is gender related to
sexuality? Oppression is the misuse of power to the detriment of others. How and
why is power sometimes transformed into oppression? In an attempt to answer these
questions, Women's Studies scholarship has turned its attention to the concept of
difference. The study of difference has further produced an emphasis on the analysis
of diversity, ethnicity and multiculturalism.
Today, Women's Studies offers a unique perspective in the liberal arts. It explores
the influence of gender in the study of all disciplines, making Women's Studies
an interdisciplinary field of study.