About Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Berea College is for everybody, and so is the feminism of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) department. WGS challenges students to tackle thorny issues like sexism, racism and gender inequity. Students are asked to think critically about peoples and viewpoints that have been excluded from history because they are queer, indigenous, black, dis/abled or “othered”. Through an understanding of shared exclusions, women, femme and gender non-conforming students, students of color and students with dis/abilities can form new relationships and build worlds based on the abolitionist work of Berea College founder John G. Fee and others. Their commitments to equity–and our department’s–are definitive of Berea’s promise to “[make] of one blood all peoples of the earth.” Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is affiliated with the bell hooks center in Draper 106 and offers both a major and a minor.

“My undergraduate degree from Berea College was an important catalyst to my becoming a healthcare provider. Throughout my many years as [a family nurse practitioner], I have realized that the…courses outlined in [WGS are] so important and could be a core component for a future healthcare provider’s practice as they lay wide open the problems created by inherent bias and systemic racism.”

—Rebekah Easton-Hogg
WGS alumnus and healthcare provider

Opportunities and Internships

WGS students learn to put feminism into practice in personal as well as professional contexts, gaining experience through a monthly colloquium series and labor positions available through the department and at the bell hooks center. We also work with the Office of Internships and Career Development to place students in organizations that do social justice work. Students who elect to participate in an internship may use that experience to waive one of their concentration requirements. We likewise work with the Center for International Education to coordinate course substitutions for majors and minors who take classes in the study of women, gender and/or sexuality abroad.

“I was born in a small, conservative, and predominantly white town, and I’d never lived anywhere else. This course exposed me to different cultures, customs, and ideas that I may have never been exposed to if I had not taken this course. [The course] environment [was one in which] students were required to think deeply and critically. …The material…was unlike any course I had taken before. This course was mainly theory-based, and the content was really appealing to me because students were able to take the theory introduced in class and establish their own conclusions on it based upon their own experiences and observations. This course also exposed me to so much African American culture and history and helped me to grasp why the Black Lives Matter movement is so crucial. I especially appreciated that this course taught me so much that I felt comfortable enough to share what I had learned with my friends and family. Overall, it is my honest belief that everyone should have a chance to experience this course. I feel as though this course has not only taught me about…all of the intersectional components that formulate African American culture but has also allowed me to become better at critical thinking and discussion. I genuinely believe that this course has made me a better individual academically and socially.”

—Victoria E. Sullivan
WGS student

Labor Positions

Labor positions as program associates and teaching assistants are available through the WGS department and at the bell hooks center.

Careers and Outcomes

WGS majors have a world of options after they finish their undergraduate degrees. Graduates have gone on to graduate school in a variety of humanities and social science disciplines. They’ve done social, legal and nonprofit work, marketing, communications and journalism, public relations and advertising. A WGS degree can lead to college or university administration, lobbying and political campaigning, or healthcare, just to name a few.