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Discover Gender Studies

Jeannie Rea

Hi, I'm Jeannie Rea and I teach in the Gender Studies minor.

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Senior Lecturer

Gender Studies Minor

Jeannie Rea

My interest in the area started back when I was at school and I started to see discrimination against women because we were women and girls - that seemed pretty unfair too, because most of the goodies went to the men. So I moved sort of, I suppose, moved into the field of what we then called Women's Studies.

My interest, and a lot of the interest of the field, has been trying to understand why there's inequality comes out of us wanting to categorise people into being gendered male or gendered female.

We offer a minor in gender studies and that means a sequence of four units. We start with... by looking at gender in public life. Gender in public life is obviously looking at the ways that the identifying of people as male and female has an impact on the ways we experience everything in our lives. At the second unit we look at sex and gender - trying to unravel that conundrum between what is sex and what is gender, which we have commonplace understandings of, but let me tell you, it's been theorised to the max. Then we go on to looking at gender in popular culture and finishing with a unit in gender and social change.

When we study it as a disciplinary area what we look into is the theories and the ideas that have developed from looking at real life to try and understand why it is that issues of difference, issues of discrimination, of inequality, why they persist and what you can do about it, which is why we lead our way through the course to that final unit looking at social change and seeing what what sorts of things work and what can be done.

We have a really big skills focus too - so you actually learn in each of the units a specific area of skill you can apply to your other learning and apply to your future profession. For example, from the very start in gender in public life we do some real social research about an issue of our time in public life and then the students pitch it as though they were making a case to somebody who could make change. So they do that and they do a briefing paper; these are the real life things that you do across many jobs.

In sex and gender we do real-time observation of gendered interaction in public places. So those things that you often have a bit of a conversation about, you do gender studies, you know it all, you've learned the theory, you've had the arguments, you actually have a basis, an evidence basis, on which to talk about gender. I think that's pretty important in our lives.

Students walk away from gender studies knowing not just about who they are and the world they live in, but the ways that you can go about making it a better world, because gender does matter.

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