Women’s Studies or WAGS?

Posted October 26th, 2010 by Angela Joyce

Is there still a place for Women’s Studies in the world of coalition politics, Strictly Come Dancing and WAGS?  A quick survey of postgraduate courses in the UK, on postgrad.com showed that 39 universities do indeed have courses.  Titles range from Women, Culture and Society, to Women’s History and even the wonderfully named The Menopause and Beyond. But do students need help with finding information on Women’s Studies? Feedback which the Virtual Training Suite receives from librarians and educators tells us that there still  is a need for information literacy help for students.

A new version of the Virtual Training Suite’s Internet for Women’s Studies was released this summer, offering good advice, a list of fascinating websites for academic research, and scenarios of students using the Internet for research, such as  – ‘Can Virginia Woolf, modernist writer,  be classed as a feminist? ‘   It shows how educational materials, primary sources,  library catalogues, blogs and news sites can provide quality materials for learning about Women’s Studies.  For example, The Women’s Library in London (part of London Met University) has valuable collections about the Suffragist Movement, women’s employment, oral history and female emigration.  Other interesting websites in the tutorial include The F-Word – an online forum for feminists now, and Wikigender from the OECD which tracks progress of gender equality in the OECD countries.  Media websites include Radio 4’s Women’s Hour which has its own website with podcasts.  YouTube is also worth a look, in its EDU Women and Gender section, where there are currently about two thousand video clips on women’s health, leadership and more.

For the more rebellious, the Pink Stinks website looks at gender stereotyping and encourages discussion. And according to online sources, such as  Frassanito (2008), in the journal Child’s Nervous System,  vol 24, pp881-882, ‘Pink and blue: the color of gender’, there is evidence that in the early twentieth  century, boys in North America were often dressed in pink and girls in blue. Probably pink became more of a girl’s colour from the 1940s onwards.

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