Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary field focused on women
and gender. The Siena Women’s Studies program introduces students to the analysis of gender roles in a variety of cultures, fosters an appreciation of diverse women’s contributions to society and the arts, and trains students in feminist theories and research methodologies. Women’s Studies offers students a means of understanding social, intellectual, and political forces that mold both women and men’s lives, and of examining how class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, ability, and nationality intersect with gender. Our courses examine gender issues such as the body, politics, social roles, psychology, business, health, global forces, artistic movements, law, media and other topics, and these studies aid students in challenging sexism and other sorts of oppressions. Our program gives students opportunities to engage with the community beyond the campus through problem-based service learning projects with community-partners, and travel courses that bring students into contact with women in various parts of the world.
The field of Women’s Studies is rooted in social movements and feminist activism dedicated to social, economic, and political justice, which is consistent with Siena’s Franciscan belief in the sacred worth of all persons, no matter their social position. Women’s Studies is a transformative academic field that is analytical, but also ethical—promoting justice, inclusiveness, and egalitarian human relations. The National Women’s Studies Association explains that “Women’s Studies is about personal and intellectual growth, both for the faculty and the students….It empowers male and female students to become active learners and social change agents” (p16) We work in alliance with other interdisciplinary programs and campus groups devoted to fostering diversity of our community.