What goes on in a Women’s Studies classroom?
“It’s much more than just lectures and reading materials. Women’s Studies teaches you to engage in the material in a personal and transformative way. Topics which directly relate to how you live and move in the world. The words on the paper have a direct relationship to your own life. Women’s Studies asks you to explore this relationship − to critically think about your own life and behaviours. It compels you to share what you have learned with others.”
What are the professors like? How have they helped your learning?
“Professors are helpful and available to all students. They help students to critically evaluate the way they engage in the world around them. Their ability to transform academic thoughts into language I can comprehend has been the key to my learning.”
How has Women’s Studies challenged you academically? In your personal life?
“Women’s Studies has challenged me to think critically for myself, to question what I have learned. Women’s Studies has enlightened me to the missing role and voices of women who make up our past, women who have contributed to society but have been overlooked and marginalized. Through Women’s Studies I have gained a greater understanding of my own actions and reactions to others. I have become aware of my seemingly simple role which impacts others daily, and my social responsibility to recognize that I can use my assets to benefit others.”
What do you do outside the classroom? How do you balance it with school?
“Outside of the classroom I participate in various campus clubs, committees, mentoring programs and volunteer for events on and off campus. All are centred on social justice and incorporate the voices of women in a very positive way. I also participate in a community group, which is working hard to improve the lives of those living in poverty.
I am a mother of four children between the ages of 16 and 21 years old, and I work part time for Family Respite Care. I think what makes it easier to balance everything with school is: 1) I’m a part-time student at the University 2) my kids are older so I have the luxury of time to participate in other things 3) everything I do is related to what I’m learning. Don’t get me wrong… my schedule is full Monday to Saturday.”
What Women’s Studies activities have you enjoyed?
“The Distinguished Visitor program has been great, especially when you’re a part of the Women’s Studies Student Association. WSSA has a personal, intimate, informal dinner where we get the Distinguished Visitor all to ourselves for a whole evening.
I have also enjoyed being part of Open House and the Windsor Welcome Week event for first year students where we’ve done events such as Barbie Make-Over and Campus Scavenger Hunt. Although it is a lot of work to help out at times, it’s really nice to meet new students, hear what brought them to Women’s Studies and what they are hoping to take away from it.
I think what has made my Women’s Studies experience unique is it validates my life. My story can be told and respected. My experiences in the world as a woman, mother, worker, educator, and friend are all meaningful and valid. The things I have felt in my life (marginalization, oppression, “Othering”) weren’t just something I made up in my head. These experiences were real and they happen to other women as well.
Lillian Gallant, Social Work and Women's Studies