UNISA’s success in the Women’s history and gender studies course

The course Women’s History and Gender Studies, promoted by the Department of Humanities, responds to UNISA’s GEP key area ‘Integrating gender perspective in research and curricula’. In the academic year 2020-21, the course has registered an increase in enrolled students, passing from 20 of the previous years to 56 of this year. Moreover, the organising committee received numerous requests from people outside the academic world, who asked to take part as listeners. They work in the most disparate sectors, from the engineering to social sciences, others coming from anti-violence centres and some others working in schools and enterprises. The increase in attendees is mostly due to a dissemination campaign started a year and a half ago, that involved students’ associations, social pages (Facebook and Twitter) and flyers, both printed and virtual.

The course hosts several seminars and workshops with the aim to encourage a lively debate on different issues, from history to linguistic, from sociology to politics, from engineering to law. Exploring gender with the tools of different disciplines, Women’s History and Gender Studies strives to help students to learn how to use gender as a category of analysis, but also reflect on the manifestation of gender in their own lives, leading to a range of personal and intellectual discoveries. The course thus affords students the opportunity to study the history of women and of gender around the world and add depth and perspective to the curricula of all graduate students, regardless of their main fields of study.

The students have been asked to respond to a questionnaire, completely anonymous, concerning their perception of gender-related issues, what they know about and what they would like to learn more about. At the end of the course, a second questionnaire will be distributed, and in this case, it will be shaped as a satisfaction survey. For the next academic year, a new dissemination campaign is expected that will last longer and will include, in addition to social media, a sort of “word of mouth” among students.

Women’s History and Gender Studies is a free choice course for all university degree programs.

Main topics:

  • Masculine and feminine identities are socio-cultural construction
  • Relationship between sexes
  • LGBT+ literatures
  • Gender-based violence
  • Equal opportunities and social inclusion
  • The body in the legal discourse
  • Diversity opportunity

Why then choose Women’s History and Gender Studies?

  • Because it conveys the ability to understand the issues of integration, equal opportunities and social inclusion, as fundamental values ​​for the future of society.
  • Because it makes students aware that men and women’s identities are complex social, cultural and political constructions and that such constructions vary according to historical and geographical contexts.