Thirty-five years after women were first admitted to Saint Mary's College, Women's Studies has been declared an official undergraduate major in the School of Liberal Arts. Previously the program, launched in 1993, was available only as a minor or individualized major.
"It shows that the college finds women's studies an integral part of the institution, which is important for the college culture as a whole," says
Heidi Bryant '99, director of the Women's Studies Alumni Association. Women currently constitute more than 60 percent of undergraduate enrollment at Saint Mary's.
Women's Studies provides an interdisciplinary course of studies, with classes that meet major requirements being offered through the departments of biology, English, psychology, history, modern languages, religious studies, politics, anthropology, and art history. In seminar-style classes, students examine such topics as the history of the women's movement, mothers and daughters in literature, women of color and Christianity, and the relationship between gender and politics.
Program graduates have gone on to medical school, business consulting, graduate programs in fine arts and organizational studies, and careers in advocacy at rape crisis centers and in domestic violence prevention and social
"The most important lesson to be learned in Women's Studies is that no matter who you are, you bring personal value to the table," says Meghan Crowell '98. "Women's Studies is about allowing women personal space to grow into the strong, proud women that they feel like on the inside. It is about proving that your voice is something and that no one can ever take that away."