Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
By Margaux Kay LaPointe, ‘11
The Women’s Studies Program has been renamed “Gender and Women’s Studies.” This more inclusive name will allow the program to expand.
The faculty considers the new name to be a “change for the better,” said Seth Whidden, Ph.D., interim co-director for the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and an associate professor of French. The inclusivity should broaden the scope of the program and will not restrict the current curriculum, which is focused on challenging stereotypes, developing identities, and empowering individuals to promote gender equality. Whidden insists that “women’s studies still has a special place on campus and in society.”
While women’s studies remains important, the addition of gender studies allows the program to examine the “larger issue of gender,” Whidden said. Beyond femininity, students will be able to further study gender comparisons. Elise Scioscia, graduate assistant for the program, agreed that women’s studies “necessarily requires you to look at gender.”
The program’s faculty believes that the change is a healthy development. Their hope is to “reach out to more students and faculty,” Whidden said. This change should generate a lot of new interest. Scioscia said that “students are receptive and excited.”
The change has been officially approved by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but much of the program’s literature will continue to say “Women’s Studies” for the rest of the year. The name change will be ready to launch next semester, and students will be able to register for their fall 2009 classes under the program’s new name.
Next semester, Gender and Women’s Studies will host a forum on the name change, as well as the annual Elizabeth Cady Stanton Conference. On Wednesday, October 29, the program will be screening the documentary “Absolutely Safe,” introduced by the film’s director Carol Ciancutti-Leyva. The film has been publicized by the program as “an open-minded, personal approach to the controversy over breast implant safety.”
Margaux Kay LaPointe, ’11, is a sophomore from Lebanon, Pa. She is an intern in the Office of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Margaux plans on majoring in communication with a specialization in public relations.