Here you will learn about the need for women’s studies as an academic discipline. Women’s studies is an academic field that draws on feminist and interdisciplinary methods to place women’s lives and experiences at the center of study. While examining social and cultural constructs of gender; systems of privilege and oppression; and the relationships between power and gender as they intersect with each other.
A look at the socio-economic position of women confirms that their priorities are not men’s priorities. Whether they live in western capitalist or socialist countries it can be seen that women’s status is not only improving but also in many instances it is deteriorating.
Observing women’s situation in societies, on the whole, gives them an imperative impetus to resist in some way the existing power relations.
When we look towards the construction of knowledge which is an important aspect of human existence. We find that women’s ways of knowing and their interpretation of realities are being neglected against men’s knowledge which is taken as a norm, true subjectivity, and natural truth.
This raises the question of why there should be women’s studies. One answer is that none of the established disciplines are reasonably suitable for disseminating women’s perspectives and their experiences and interpretation of social realities and their very development and present practice do not represent women as they are.
Therefore the construction of a new basis in academia for the generation of knowledge has led women to the development of women’s studies as a discipline. Women’s Studies have faced a lot of resistance because we live in a society where woman’s status is not taken into account seriously and so the idea of an academic discipline about women and for women is in itself difficult to accept.
When we look at different reports of almost all the countries in the world which reflect women’s contributions to socio-economic developments, their unpaid emotional and material work, their labor of love and care at home – which is not just unpaid, unrecognized but invisible in government statistics – then question appears that Why women’s studies be not a priority, a necessity?
Women’s absence from positions of power, policy, and decision-making has intensified the need for women to establish an academic platform for their ideologies and thoughts in their struggle against oppression and subordination.
Some people hold the belief that after taking a few women as a token in a few policy and decision-making positions have opinions that the issues of women’s oppression are either solved or almost solved. But we can argue why this question is not important. To whom it is important? Who decides what is significant? Who makes the rules and who profits? Who controls?
The crux of Women’s Studies is that it is not Just about facts and figures, it is not just another academic discipline – it involves a different way of viewing the world. It is about change in consciousness; in material and psychological circumstances; in power and control.
As the majority of feminists believe that women’s studies were developed in academia by feminists active in the women’s liberation movement and therefore have been called ‘the educational arm of the Feminist Movement.
The absence of women from positions of power is reflected in the curriculum at all educational levels as well as in the research that is being pursued and is thought important in all academic disciplines.
According to Acker (1980) women who are in women’s studies-students and teachers both recognize and feel women’s oppression from personal experience.
Bringing these abilities to the limelight is the attempt to understand them in an academic scholarly way in which not only women academics ‘de-construct’ and ‘re-construct’ previous knowledge. Also construct new knowledge that includes women as self-determining human beings, that empowers women to explore ways to end their status as underpaid and overworked, abused, and exploited second-class citizens.