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Frequently Asked Questions

What Kinds of Things do you study and do in Gender and Women’s Studies?

While issues related to women, gender, and sexuality remain central to this minor, possibilities for focus are not limited to these topics. The broader mission of this program is to encourage a commitment to addressing the challenges of ensuring that economic growth, progress, and ambitious and competitive social institutions such as law and medicine remain balanced with concerns about the environment and social justice for all. While historically, women have suffered most from inequality and abuse of power, it is impossible to consider the history or current plight of women without also considering men, and a whole vortex of issues including class, labor, race, immigration, nationalism, and globalization. What is really at stake is power, and ways in which power can become abused, curtailed, and shared. Students may wish, for example, to focus on male labor and class divisions, the impact of work injuries on men, women’s role in revolution in Latin America or Iran, or the impact of immigration laws on Mexican-American men and women.
This particular GWMST Program also emphasizes UTPA’s location in the Rio Grande Valley and its proximity to Mexico and Latin America more broadly. We consider this location a rich field for research on trasnsnational, global, and imperial relationships, and encourage students to explore topics relevant to this region such as sex trafficking, border patrol, and migrant farmer’s rights. This emphasis draws upon our unique location and facilitate cultural exchanges across borders through field trips and study abroad programs.

The Interdisciplinary Nature of Gender and Women’s Studies:

Gender and Women’s Studies is interdisciplinary by nature because it specifically involves different and diverse disciplines and departments coming together under a consistent set of questions and assumptions based on gendered (and other) levels of power. The course content of our cross-listed courses and the capstone seminar incorporates elements, concepts, and theories from a wide range of disciplines.

Service-Learning:

This program is also committed to serving our community by establishing creative ways of merging academic study and research with community service. Students will have the opportunity to work with other programs on Campus such as CAVE (Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation) and CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) and to volunteer in the community with organizations such as Mujeres Unidas (Women Together), Planned Parenthood, Mission Regional Medical Center, and South Texas Literary Coalition.

Why Get a Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies? How will it help me get a Job?

Both equality and social justice both in the workplace, and in our globally connected communities, have become increasingly central in our society regardless of what career path we might find ourselves in. Being able to demonstrate an interest and knowledge in this area along with a major in engineering, business, science, mathematics, law, health, education, global security, the social sciences, or the humanities, will only enhance the effectiveness with which you are able to communicate, research, serve, and succeed. Think, for example, about the efforts that companies make to ensure that employees are properly trained in areas such as sexual harassment and affirmative action, or the efforts a company like Starbucks makes to in order to ensure that consumers think their coffee is based on fair trade rather than exploitation of men and women around the globe.
Also, because the nature of this minor is interdisciplinary as well as global, getting a minor in GWMST shows an employer that you can think in a flexible, internationally sensitive way, and work and communicate with people across fields; these skills are becoming ever more crucial in the 21st century.
This minor also emphasizes service-learning, providing opportunities to volunteer with community groups and organizations and to get hands-on-experience by applying your major subject towards a better future
And, finally, scholarship money is available for students who apply:
How to apply: contact Dr. Caroline Miles at csmiles@utpa.edu or at (956) 457 3083