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GWS tabling with Alum Alayna Milby and new GWS Coordinator Dr. Dawn Hall

Gender and Women's Studies Program

Virtual 2021 Awards Ceremony

GWS Statement In Support of the Black Lives Matter Movement and of Solidarity & Commitment

The faculty of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at WKU, are saddened and enraged by the murder of George Floyd and by the unwarranted shooting of Breonna Taylor. We stand in solidarity with those mobilizing and seeking justice for these two individuals, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others who have fallen victim to police violence, state-sanctioned lynching, torture, and unjust incarceration. Though the police officers guilty and complicit of Mr. Floyd’s murder are finally being held accountable, we believe that is not enough.

We will continue to stand in support of the protesters calling for systemic change and an end to violence against Black people of all gender identities in an effort to amplify all marginalized voices. WKU’s GWS program is committed to critiquing and confronting the long histories of racism and white patriarchal power ingrained in American institutions, and the inequalities that they produce.

Below is a sampling of the rich and vast literary heritage that explores what it means to be a person of color; READ, ASSIGN, REVIEW THEM and START MAKING CHANGE. Thanks to Hector Dominguez, English MFA/GWS graduate assistant, for this list of readings.



Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

How to Be an Anti-Racist – Ibram X. Kendi

Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

Slavery by Another Name – Douglas A. Blackmon

The Souls of Black Folk – W.E.B. Du Bois

Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism – bell hooks

Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde


Fiction & Memoir:

Sing, Unburied Sing – Jesmyn Ward

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

How We Fight for Our Lives – Saeed Jones

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

The Color Purple – Alice Walker

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

An American Marriage – Tayari Jones

Click here to watch Erin Miller's "Why I Am a Feminist" video, which features many of you/us!

Our mission is to broaden students' knowledge of gender dynamics, globally and historically, with an emphasis on issues central to women's lives. Through an interdisciplinary classroom experience, community outreach, and special events, the Gender & Women's Studies Program advances understanding of the social and cultural institutions and practices that affect us.


  • sharpen ability to critically analyze gender issues
  • encourage the practice of feminist scholarship
  • enhance intellectual and personal growth
  • foster an atmosphere in which diversity and sustainability are valued
  • advocate ethical conduct, social justice, and responsible global citizenship

Why a Gender & Women's Studies minor or graduate certificate?

Drawing on historical perspectives and cultural analysis, Gender & Women’s Studies examines the social construction of gender and the intersections of gender with race, ethnicity, class, nationality, disability, age and sexuality.  The GWS minor and graduate certificate address the ways in which these factors shape our daily lives.
Gender & Women's Studies builds on the critical thinking, speaking, writing, and organizational skills that you acquire in your major. Because GWS is an interdisciplinary program, we help you learn how to make connections and to understand the "bigger picture" in ways that will enhance your educational program.

Gender & Women’s Studies is one of the most important fields of inquiry to emerge in higher education in the past forty years or so. Founded in 1990, Western Kentucky University’s Gender & Women’s Studies program seeks to enrich the lives of all students with learning that is truly transformative. Our students often say that our classes and program provide a supportive, intellectually stimulating, and inspiring environment that provides the potential for personal and professional growth. 


A recent survey conducted through the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that the areas in which graduates were least prepared, in terms of functioning in their careers, ranged from global knowledge, self-direction, adaptability, ethical judgment, and self-knowledge to such skills as writing, critical thinking, oral communication, and intercultural sensitivity.

Such skills appear to be increasingly needed, as our worlds become more and more complex, interconnected, and global. As important as it is to be appreciated for your skills, it's just as crucial to know how to interpret the world and your experience in it. Gender & Women's studies helps you gain that kind of breadth of knowledge and experience.

After graduation, Gender & Women's Studies graduates often find meaningful work in the following areas: (click here for list)

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 Last Modified 5/11/21