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Women's and Gender Studies Minor

Gender issues are at the forefront of our culture today, from same-sex marriage to pay equity to human rights. There are gendered aspects to most every topic, which is why a minor in women’s and gender studies (WGS) will complement any North Park major, including history, business, communication, education, theology, nursing, and the fine and liberal arts.

Focused attention in women’s and gender studies will prepare you to work for an organization that addresses women’s issues or consult for a business or government body that needs expertise in such gender-related issues as pay equity, sexual harassment, and equal employment opportunities in several fields, including law, medicine, teaching, social work, education, and others. Your minor will provide additional confidence if you want to pursue a career in a male-dominated field.

The WGS minor offers a complete look at the history, impact, and current issues of gender. An introductory class will examine societal issues of health and sexuality, media, environment, family, jobs, violence, and crime. Other courses span women’s history to contemporary feminism, bringing in multicultural perspectives and focusing on specific topics, like gender-related violence, justice, and global women’s issues.

Why Choose North Park?

The WGS program will advance students’ understanding about women, feminism, and gender—and to bring the discussion to the whole North Park community through campus engagement projects. The curriculum seeks to encourage students’ commitment to the pursuit of justice for women and men through political and social activism, volunteer opportunities, and their chosen careers.

At North Park, WGS students direct campus-wide discussions for the Fall Focus on Gender and Women’s History Month by planning events, inviting speakers, facilitating panel and roundtable discussions, and conducting service-learning projects in conjunction with Chicago-area organizations of their choice. With the city’s considerable number of non-profit agencies, students have connected with a wide range of organizations that address topics like global education, fair trade, a homeless shelter, and Native American women.

Classes also explore issues of faith and women in Christian and non-Christian religions, examining, for example, Biblical interpretation and misinterpretation of women’s issues, domestic violence in Muslim vs. American culture, and female genital mutilation as religious tradition.

Minor Requirements

To meet the requirements for the WGS minor, students must complete:

  • 20 semester hours of coursework
  • A portfolio, submitted to the program chair, that includes a self-assessment, reflection on their educational experiences, and samples of work from each completed course.

This minor is not a standalone program; students must complete a full undergraduate major at North Park in order to graduate from the University.

Learn more about WGS program requirements and view course offerings.

Meet the Faculty

Classes are taught by Dr. Margaret Haefner, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and professor of communication arts/media studies. “Gender is on our culture’s front burner. It’s relevant to everybody personally, whether they know it or not," she says of this discipline. "Usually one of the most surprising things for students is how relevant it is to them.”

Learn more about Dr. Haefner.

Margaret Haefner, Communication Arts professor

“We all live gender even though it may seem invisible, and no matter what you do with your life professionally, gender is a part of it.”

Dr. Margaret Haefner