Our Department History

For more than 30 years, our Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program at Gonzaga has been raising awareness, promoting equality, and empowering students to lead the change they want to see.

At GU, the Women’s Studies program was founded after several years of advocacy by faculty and students in 1991. The department was renamed Women’s and Gender Studies in 2009. The field, itself, was established over 50 years ago as an extracurricular resistance to the lack of intellectual attention paid to women, in particular, across the liberal arts. In those early days, faculty met with students on their own time in small reading groups. Those groups were eventually formalized as minors, majors, and graduate degrees. Though grounded in the liberal arts disciplines, WGST has its own theories, methods, and scholarly canon. What makes WGST courses unique is their deep engagement with gender as the central analytic of the curriculum. Students in WGST courses engage directly with academic feminist theories, such as intersectionality.

Thirty Years and Counting Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Gonzaga University