Women’s Studies as Civic Engagement

This white paper, Women’s Studies as Civic Engagement, authored by The Teagle Working Group on Women’s Studies and Civic Engagement and the National Women’s Studies Association, outlines the lessons and frameworks from the field of women’s and gender studies that can be utilized for higher education.

This white paper argues that as higher education rededicates itself to its long-standing commitment to promote civic purposefulness at the core of the undergraduate experience, Women’s Studies is a valuable resource. Although rarely using the language of civic engagement, Women’s Studies has developed a vast body of scholarship and a collection of pedagogical approaches that bridge theory and practice for students at institutions seeking to bolster their roles as a citizen educators.

As a field, women’s and gender studies have long grappled with questions of inclusion, justice, and belonging while taping its activist roots to develop frameworks for questioning power, privilege, and difference.

These questions are vital to building a foundation of civic knowledge, skill, and disposition for students and have applications across disciplines. The paper makes recommendations for both the field of women’s and gender studies and academia as a whole for steps to better tap the learning from women’s studies to bolster the civic mission of higher education.

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