How to be part of the future of Gender and Women’s Studies.
We are hoping that you value your time as a Women’s Studies or Gender and Women’s Studies major and you will want to help us remain strong in the future. We could use your help. Here’s how and why.
Keep in touch. Let us know where you are, what you are doing, and how your Women’s Studies or Gender and Women’s Studies degree matters to you. Just drop us a note, an email, or post to our Facebook page.
Talk us up. Mention your Gender and Women’s Studies degree when you write a letter to the editor. List your degree in Gender and Women’s Studies when you run for your local school board. Tell your friends and family about how taking Women’s Studies 103 led you to become a midwife. Include UW-Madison on the college tour with your children. You are the best publicity we have. Fly your Gender and Women’s Studies flag proudly.
Give us money. Yes, your money is valuable to us, and we know it’s valuable to you. We also realize that as a major populated with women, our graduates don’t have as much money in the aggregate as some other majors. (Curse the wage gap!) But your donations, big and small, matter. (Perhaps you have seen the magic of crowd sourcing.) Let me explain why even small donations to Gender and Women’s Studies make a difference to our students and our faculty.
Our collective belts have been tightened in the last five years with no end in sight. As a result, we have no money in our budget to fund the extras that will enhance the Gender and Women’s Studies experience for students. It might be hard for you to think of ways to make your donations matter, but we have lots of ideas. (We’d love to hear your ideas too!) Donations to our department’s general fund would help us provide:
- Undergraduate Scholarships. As tuition has increased over the last five years, a college education has become increasing hard for many of our potential students. A Gender and Women’s Studies scholarship of $1000 to each of three students in their junior and senior years will make a significant difference. If just thirty Gender and Women’s Studies alumni gave $100 a year ($10 a month) we could help make college possible for a few students.
- Undergraduate Leadership Training. Many of you were involved in socially significant extra curricular activities (Sex Out Loud, Campus Women’s Center, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services) while you were here. Many of you expressed interest in attending leadership-training conferences to enhance what you could bring to these organizations. If twenty-five of you gave us $20 every year, we could help a student become a feminist leader.
- Promoting Undergraduate Research. Every year faculty members identify a few students who are doing path-breaking work that should be recognized by the larger Gender and Women’s Studies community. We would love to have funds to send a student or two to the state-wide Gender and Women’s Studies conference or even the National Women’s Studies Association meeting. With enough $50 donations from alumni, we could make this happen.
- Undergraduate Internships. For the past 14 years, Gender and Women’s Studies has offered an internship experience, connecting our students with community organizations serving women or LGBT communities. These courses bring feminist theory and feminist practice together; the results are sometimes life changing. Indeed, some of our students have found employment through the doors the internships have opened. Not all Gender and Women’s Studies students, however, are able to take this class because they must work for pay to support themselves through college and cannot afford to volunteer their labor to organizations that cannot pay. We are committed to helping interested students take this course, but we need alumni support to make this possible. Your monthly gift of $10 (even an annual gift of $40) would help us underwrite the internships with scholarships for a few of our students.
- MA Student Funding. In 2005, the Department of Gender and Women’s began a Master’s Degree program. Since then we have graduated 15 MA students, who have studied a range of topics including children’s literature, international adoption, and NGOs in Tanzania. We are delighted by the quality of their scholarship and the range of their interests. Funding these gifted students, however, has proven extremely difficult. Your gifts could help graduate students travel for their research or fund their coursework.
Remember when you learned that the twinge of pain you felt every month had a name (mittelschmerz) and what it signaled (ovulation)? Remember when you discovered that childbirth could be scary and spiritual and empowering all at once? Remember when you realized how women’s bodies intersected with politics? Remember when you learned how homophobia affected the health of LGBT people? Remember when a college class helped you feel more comfortable with and aware of your body? Think about what those experiences meant to you then. Think about what those experiences mean to you now. Many of you gained knowledge about bodies past and present in classes you took with Mariamne Henken Whatley, Nancy Worcester, and Judith Walzer Leavitt. These professors formed the foundation of our department’s historical strengths in women’s health. Upon their recent retirements, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies created a fund to honor the contributions of Whatley, Worcester, and Leavitt with the goal of sustaining our national reputation as a leader in women’s health and feminist science.
We understand that there is no way to monetize your appreciation for these great professors. Nevertheless, one way for us to thank them for what they have given our program is to make sure that Gender and Women’s Studies students in the future will have access to feminist health and science courses. If one of the courses these professors taught gave you valuable insights or cherished memories, please consider a one time or annual gift to this fund. It will mean a lot to them and it will mean a great deal to the future of Gender and Women’s Studies.