My first impression of the Women’s Studies program was positive because I found the course material to be so vast and multifaceted. For example, in the Women in Canadian Society course, we discuss subjects ranging from the environment, to economics, to the advertising industry’s misguided use of women. I had some preconceived ideas of Women’s Studies, but for the most part, I did not know what to expect. Although I have always considered myself a feminist, I realized upon entering Women’s Studies how little I actually knew about the women’s movement. For example, I knew very little about the third wave movement, and I was not aware that there even was a current feminist movement!
My view of Women’s Studies has changed over time. I can see now how it has caused me to grow as a person and has led me into critical self-reflection that other disciplines do not foster. I find that pursuing Women’s Studies also helps me to understand concepts in other academic areas, like Social Work for example. After taking Women’s Studies classes, it is clear to me just how useful and interdisciplinary this program is capable of being, as it brings together students from many faculties and draws on teachings from different academic backgrounds.
When I learn about the contributions and persistence that women in the past have committed to and for the benefit of future women, it makes me proud to be where I am today as a female university student. Sometimes in class I feel emotionally moved when I hear about the courage and strength that was required of women who have made positive change in society that would benefit so many future generations. Also, it makes me wonder why these amazing contributions to society are not taught at the public school level.
If the elementary and high school historical curriculum included teachings on more accomplishments of Canadian women, it may inspire teenage girls to aspire to great accomplishments in their own lives. For example, this may encourage young women to get involved in politics at greater numbers. This would be beneficial since Canada has far less female politicians than a lot of other developed, democratic countries. In addition, I feel that it would be advantageous for teenage girls to learn more about women’s contributions to history because in turn, it may motivate them to feel better about themselves and explore their abilities and potential.
editor’s note: this piece was submitted by a second year women’s studies and social work major who enjoys being actively involved in women’s studies events across campus throughout the year.