“Is it a boy or a girl?” Our biological gender (“sex”) shapes our entire life. From the beginning it is associated with expectations and a certain role behavior: girls wear dresses and play with Barbies and dolls, boys have short hair and love cars. To this day, these role models are firmly anchored in our society and measurable social inequalities can still be identified. Women still rarely hold management positions and receive less money than their male colleagues for the same work. And women are still in the majority when it comes to childcare.
Gender studies deal with phenomena like these. The English word “gender” denotes – in contrast to “sex” – gender as a social construction . The gender researchers are of the opinion that society imposes gender roles on us and that this is how we become “boys” or “girls” in the first place. The distinction between these two generations also implies a hierarchy, from the then various forms of social inequality. Gender research asks how the prevailing gender relations came about and what mechanisms are used to maintain them. She also deals with the social inequalities that arise from gender roles. In doing so, she also looks at other categories such as ethnicity, class or sexuality.
Studying Gender Studies: An Overview
The discipline of gender studies is still quite young in Germany and until recently there were hardly any independent courses in the bachelor’s area . An increase has only recently been noticed. Most universities primarily offer the option of choosing the subject as a second or minor subject as part of a two-subject bachelor’s degree.
University or independent institutes and centers for gender research are increasingly emerging . Especially in the master’s area , the independent courses are springing up like mushrooms. The course includes courses from various specialist areas . Depending on whether the university pursues a cultural or social science approach, for example
- Political science
- Literary studies
- Linguistics or
- Media studies
involved in the training of future gender researchers.
In the bachelor’s degree, students first get to know the fundamental knowledge of gender studies and social and cultural science working methods. They deal, for example, with the development of social gender or with forms of social inequality. In doing so, they pursue different approaches , for example
- research on masculinity
- the queer studies or
- the postcolonial studies.
Depending on the content of the chosen study program, they specialize in the higher semesters in areas such as transculturality or queer theory.
According to top-engineering-schools, master’s programs in the field of gender studies give students the opportunity to specialize even further in a research area. The master’s programs are also open to graduates from other social or cultural studies . The universities offer focal points such as work and organization or transnationalization and democratization.
Gender Studies: Requirements
Prospective students should follow the socio-political events and be able to recognize the prevailing concepts of society and to question them critically. The course is very theory-heavy , whereby the research literature is often very demanding and the students have to do a large amount of reading . Since a large part of the research literature is written in English, a good knowledge of the language is taken for granted.
Like other humanities and social sciences, gender studies do not provide training for a specific job description. If possible, students should complete internships during their studies in order to gain additional qualifications and to orientate themselves professionally. Depending on which other subjects the graduates have studied, very different professional areas of employment come into question.
Graduates find employment in companies, administrations, foundations, associations or political organizations. Their specialist knowledge and their scientific competence enable them to take on a wide variety of tasks: they implement concepts for gender mainstreaming in the equality offices or are responsible for personnel management. You will also find a field of activity in the areas of press and public relations , in documentation or in marketing .
It is also possible to work as a specialist lecturer at a university or in adult education . Masters graduates are free to pursue a doctorate and pursue a career in scientific research. Activities in development aid and in international organizations for equality are also possible.
Study gender studies abroad
Gender Studies originated in the USA and has since established itself in the Anglo-American region in particular. A semester abroad offers students the opportunity to benefit from the academic experience of these countries in the field of gender studies. The new teaching content also sharpens your scientific profile. In addition, you will acquire intercultural competence , such as working in international teams , and optimize your language skills. These are all valuable qualifications that will significantly increase your chances on the job market.