Anyone who is curious about issues affecting women, who asks questions about gender, or who is interested in understanding gender in society is a good candidate for a Women’s Studies minor. Additionally, a Women's Studies minor may be interested in broad cultural issues as they affect family life-diversity, or economic and social justice, for example. A Women's Studies minor may wish to enlarge her/his understanding of women's contributions to science, art, music, and literature--all the areas of human creativity that compose the whole of human civilizations. Or, a Women's Studies minor may want to better understand gender issues in global contexts, and pursue his or her interest in a particular country or culture. The Women's Studies minor is truly cross-disciplinary, and affords students a rare opportunity to combine personal values with rigorous academic study that has sweeping social and cultural implications.
While “education for education’s sake” is sufficient for some university students today, many want an education that is at the same time “training.” Sensitive to world of work, they expect the bachelor’s degree and the major to be preparation for careers. So, instead of the question “What can a minor in Women’s Studies do for me?” such students are asking, “What can I do with a minor in Women’s Studies?”
Those concerned primarily with contributing to women’s studies knowledge work in universities with graduate departments and professional schools. Those who communicate women’s studies knowledge teach in undergraduate colleges, junior colleges, community colleges, and occasionally, in high schools. Those concerned primarily with utilization of women’s studies knowledge are employed at international bodies and national, state, and large municipal governments, industry, the military, nonprofit organizations, political parties, and trade unions.
Although graduate education is becoming imperative in many disciplines today, a liberal arts graduate with a minor in Women’s Studies can be very competitive in the world of work. While it is probably impossible to provide a listing of work opportunities available to graduates with Women’s Studies minors, any such list would include areas such as advertising, banking and finance, communication, education, insurance, law, manufacturing, marketing and merchandising, health sciences, social work, government, social sciences, and urban planning, for example. Job titles within these fields include, for instance, market researcher, mental health counselor, community planner, lawyer, writer-editor, legal assistant, survey researcher, labor relations specialist, and community financial needs analyst.
A minor in Women’s Studies provides skills and perspectives that enhance all careers. Women’s Studies increases knowledge; broadens viewpoints; sensitized you to organizational issues and social change; teaches you how to think, analyze, synthesize, and express; and prompts you to examine attitudes and values. The challenge for the women’s studies graduate is to demonstrate imaginatively to prospective employers the distinct advantages of an education that includes women’s studies.
As a student in Women’s Studies, you will want to consult members of the Women’s Studies faculty about career possibilities. You might also want to examine Women’s Studies Graduates: The First Generation by Barbara F. Luebke and Mary Ellen Reilly.
Academic Advising and Career Development
JMU’s Office of Academic Advising and Career Development (Wilson 301) has a library of information about various careers. They conduct workshops on all aspects of the job search, and they often present workshops tailored to students with various majors and minors, including Women’s Studies.
Job Searching on the Internet
Women's Studies minors might find the following sites helpful: