Home : Academics : Gender & Women's Studies



LeeRay Costa, director
(540) 362-6254

Susan Thomas
(540) 362-7492

Hollins University
P.O. Box 9592
Roanoke, VA 24020

Questioning conventional wisdom.

Gender & Women's StudiesGender and women's studies is an interdisciplinary program that examines how systems of oppression/resistance and privilege operate. It is designed to provide students with an understanding of the importance of gender as a category of analysis and its intersections with race/ethnicity, class, age, sexual identity, sexual orientation, and (dis)ability.

Women's lives today are increasingly shaped by global transformations in work, technology, politics, and popular culture resulting in profound changes in gender roles and expectations. Gender and women's studies explores these issues in both national and global contexts.

The gender and women's studies faculty members are dedicated to creating an environment that fosters critical thinking, supports student activism, and emphasizes faculty/student and peer mentoring. Students are encouraged to question conventional wisdom and to participate actively in their education.

Gender and women's studies helps prepare students for a variety of careers. Women interested in law, education, politics, business, and the arts will be well prepared by the gender and women's studies major. Understanding the importance of gender in society helps women to have successful careers and lives and to promote social justice and gender equity.


Independent study

Many students also undertake independent experiential learning projects. Some recent examples:

  • A curriculum project to develop a Hollins course titled Confronting Isms
  • An examination of the roles of women in the financial industry
  • An exploration of the relationship between women's self-assertiveness and rape
  • The establishment of a community garden on campus
  • Conducting writing workshops at an all girls' middle school
  • Research on birth practices cross-culturally
  • Research on women, leadership, and outdoor education
  • Feminist pedadogy and narrative methodology
  • An examination of the intersectionality of sexism and speciesism
  • Girls' empowerment and leadership

Photo above: GWS students who presented at the Annual Gender and Women's Studies Seminar. Left to right: Jen Old '11, Jennifer Walton '11, Lauren Baskt '11, and Kelsey DeForest '13.