By Kunalika Gautam & Ruhika Drohi
Gender is most commonly understood to exist in a binary and manifested in stereotyped manners, however this understanding of gender is widely being challenged and overhauled to generate a more inclusive understanding of gender. Given these changing dynamics, gender as a discipline is fast emerging to become one of the most sought after courses.
So, what exactly is gender studies? Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the complex gender equations and interactions with other identity markers like race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationalism, and religion. The course also examines sexuality and gender as a spectrum in a comprehensive manner.
If you wish to equip yourself with a holistic understanding of gender then Gender Studies can be pursued at the BA, MA, M.Phil and Phd level. To pursue an undergraduate degree in Gender Studies, you can directly apply to the college of your choice because admission is based on merit. Eligibility for MA in Gender Studies is however based on a minimum of 50% in graduation and passing the entrance exam.
As society makes progress, it becomes increasingly aware of the various inequalities that exist and actively seeks to overcome them. Gender Studies is the most potent force in creating an active toolkit for the creation of an equal society. The top-5 reasons to pursue Gender Studies can be summarised in the following points:
Increasing Awareness: As a nation, we are becoming progressively aware of the gender gap that exists, millennials and Gen-Z have protested against pre-existing norms to raise their voice in support of diversity and inclusivity. This has prompted businesses to be more conscious of gender issues and to engage with gender consultants to help them in maintaining their workplaces as diverse as possible.
Be the Change: For people who desire to make a long-term difference in society, this course provides you with the social impact knowledge base and skills to get started. An empirical understanding of gendered practices, norms and discourses in politically significant ways will have a greater impact in future.
Emerging Job Opportunities: The creation of mental health advocacy, gender advocacy, and diversity toolkits is emerging as a sought after skillset. An understanding of gender as an intersection that impacts lived experiences will offer you skills for sustained success in those areas, as well as your career, by adding value to your organisation.
Multiple career opportunities: It helps you to keep your options open – knowledge of gender and its intersections is useful in a variety of fields such as law, media, academia, journalism, social work, digital marketing, counselling, human rights advocacy, and so on. With a gender studies degree, you can keep all of these alternatives open as job options while carving out a niche in your respective careers.
Gender Inclusion and Diversity Hiring: Diversity hiring is emerging as an important consideration for companies, in addition to the pre-existing setup of CSR which requires the understanding of gender as a dynamic category. These specifications enhance the prospect of a Gender Studies student, in a myriad of hiring opportunities.
Career paths such as Professor, Writer, Counsellor, Gender Specialist, Research Associate, Social Worker, Diplomat with International Agencies like United Nations, UN Women etc. are available to a Gender Studies student with an average salary of INR 2-5 Lakhs per annum. However, with the right expertise and skill set, there is potential for a student to build their career and secure salary incentive at INR 12 lakhs per annum and upwards.
A few Indian universities offering the Gender Studies course are:
Tata Institute of Social Sciences
OP Jindal Global University
Aligarh Muslim University
University of Hyderabad
Jamia Millia Islamia University
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
Indira Gandhi National Open University (upskill yourself while on a job or full time degree)
Below are a few renowned universities abroad that offer Gender Studies:
Williams College, USA
Yale University, USA
Dartmouth College, USA
University of Pennsylvania, USA
Harvard University, USA
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Arizona State University, USA
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland