Study and advocate for something that matters.
Trailblazers from the start.
Women’s studies emerged as a field of study in the 1970s, on the heels of the burgeoning women’s movement led by second-wave feminists (who focused on equality and discrimination). Just as activists were marching in the streets to raise awareness about the inequalities experienced by women in the home, workplace, and society at large, faculty across college campuses in the United States—many of whom were also feminist activists in their communities—began to organize against the absence, marginalization, and misrepresentation of women in college curricula, launching new courses that placed women’s lives and experiences at their core. The faculty on our campus were among those trailblazers.
Working alongside feminist activists in the city of Fort Wayne, our faculty began developing courses that brought radically new perspectives to traditional disciplines. Psychology of Women, first taught in the spring of 1972, was the very first women’s studies course to be offered on our campus. A year later, the women’s studies program was founded, to be followed by the development of the minor in 1976. In 1992, we became the first public university in Indiana to offer a bachelor of arts degree with a women’s studies major.
One of the most remarkable facets of our history is how intertwined our roots are with those of the surrounding Fort Wayne community. Many of those developing courses and teaching in the women’s studies program during those early years were the same activists who established or contributed to the network of social services that were founded in Fort Wayne in the 1970s, including the Women’s Bureau (now part of the YWCA of Northeast Indiana) and the Center for Nonviolence. It’s fitting, therefore, that these same social service providers have employed many graduates of the women’s studies program over the years. Step into any of these nonprofits today and you will most likely encounter a women’s studies graduate leading one of their programs, spearheading one of their new initiatives, and advocating for others and for change in our community.
Transform the way you see the world.
Women’s studies emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to learning, which means you’ll learn from faculty across campus who specialize in everything from biology to music. We take this approach because the problems and potential of society are best understood through study, dialogue, and research that draws upon and integrates multiple perspectives.
Scholarships and Awards
Expert, passionate faculty make all the difference.
Don’t underestimate the power of great professors. Our faculty will support you every step of the way as you carve your own path.