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Women's Studies/ Gender Studies

GrobinGrobin Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
Hello. I am a rising high school junior who will be taking 5 AP classes next year. I have a passion in human's rights and women's rights. For the past 5 years, all I can remember is dreaming to major in gender studies at an accredited university, such as an Ivy League, and then going on to get my PhD and teach or conduct research. I know this is a far stretch, but you've got to at least try.
Many people have turned me away from this dream, I know jobs would be hard to get, and the pay not be as much as if I pursued an AuD/PhD in audiology, which I have also been looking into.
I am cofounder and copresident of a club at my school that sends girls in Mali, West Africa to school, I am founder of my school's chapter of the English National honor society, member of Spanish NHS, I am on the math team, Vice President of my class, on two varsity sports, I am apart of a volunteering club called the horizon club, I have gotten stories published 5 times, am applying to be a student member on the county human rights commission, am interning for the League of Women Voters, interning for the National Park service (women's rights related), but am also interning under a speech pathologist in the fall to explore my interests in audiology.
I was wondering what suggestions/advice I could get considering my extracurricular activities and that now you see how dedicated I am through my extracurriculars.

Please help, I am just looking for advice and suggestions. Also any schools you think I should look into, and what you would suggest I would do for a path to go down.

Replies to: Women's Studies/ Gender Studies

  • snarlatronsnarlatron Registered User Posts: 1,630 Senior Member
    Both audiology and speech pathology will position you for more certain (and higher paying, if that matters) employment than gender studies. You can get an idea of the job markets by hunting through bls.gov. If you are really led to gender studies you might want to do that kind of work within a more traditional major such as English or Sociology, which will make your credential, for either employment or Grad School, more flexible.
  • madglavmadglav Registered User Posts: 118 Junior Member
    You're going to be in massive debt with no employment if you major in gender/women's studies.
  • Vlklngboy11Vlklngboy11 Registered User Posts: 510 Member
    There is a high chance you wind up doing something else besides being employed with women's studies if you get a degree in that. It's not like you will be unemployable like madglav is suggesting though.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    ^OK, so the above is not necessarily true. First of all, your debt is is dependent upon where you go to college, not your major. And second of all, there are many gainfully employed women's studies majors. I'm personally really tired of the (untrue) stereotype that humanities and social science majors do not get jobs and end up living in their parents' basement in miserable debt until they're 40. The statistics simply do not bear this out. The unemployment rate for humanities and social science majors is roughly equivalent to that of natural and physical science majors and math and computer science majors. While they do certainly make, on average, lower salaries than those other majors throughout their lives, "lower" simply means lower, not unlivable.

    However, I do agree with @snarlatron - audiology and SLP are more employable/lucrative fields, with a lot of growth - especially if you are interested in working with the aging. I have a friend who is an SLP and she had a job before she even graduated her master's program.

    The other thing to think about is that the traditional model of a tenure-track professor is, in large part, going away. It used to be that you went and got a PhD in 5-7 years, then you went straight into a tenure-track position and taught and did research as a full-time professor. These days, about 75% of classes are taught by adjunct/contingent professors - people who are contracted to teach a few classes a semester (with no benefits, and not even their own office), or graduate students. It's not that there are zero jobs as TT professors out there, but the number is a lot closer to zero than it is a number that's sustainable for all the people who want those jobs.

    I'm not saying don't try it at all. I'm saying that if you do go this route, go in with your eyes WIDE open, knowing that the chances of you getting a job are very slim. And also go into it with a Plan B. And when I say wide open, I don't mean "I realize that the chances are very slim, but I am *special* and intelligent and therefore I will get one of these jobs." The vast majority of people getting PhDs and competing in that market were also the top of their high school and college classes and are also very intelligent and special. I mean with the knowledge that the likelihood is VERY LARGE that you won't, and that you are completely and totally okay with the idea of earning a PhD in the field and never using it. Personally, I have found the process of earning a PhD rewarding and I do not regret getting one, but if I could go back in time with the knowledge I have now, I would not do it again. Things like bills and houses and job stability become much more real to you in your mid-20s than they ever were when you were a teenager deciding what to do with your life.

    But I am also not saying that you shouldn't study your passions. College is one of the few times that you can really concentrate primarily on something you love. I do agree with @snarlatron again, though, in saying that you should probably try to study it from a broader perspective to set yourself up for success. People with PhDs in women's studies can only teach in other interdisciplinary women's studies programs, or occasionally another kind of interdisciplinary program (like American studies). But say you got a PhD in sociology. Now you can teach in sociology departments and women's studies departments, as well as other interdisciplinary departments depending on your research interests. So I do encourage you to consider double-majoring in women's studies + sociology or psychology. (Not English. The market for faculty jobs in English are even worse than the social science field.)

    The other thing to remember is that it's really, really possible to have a burning passion/interest in something and not work in it, or work in it a different way that you intended. Maybe you use your passion to volunteer for human rights organizations on the weekends. Or maybe you can work as an audiologist overseas, doing testing and attempting to help people who traditionally can't afford audiology services. Trust me when I say that the human rights fields need way more skilled workers - especially in the medical field - than they need folks with PhDs in the field.

    I also don't think you have to major in communications disorders to go get your MS in SLP and then an AuD. They encourage you to major in some kind of social science, or maybe linguistics. If you don't have a major in CD, some programs will be a bit longer (sometimes 1-2 semesters) and some programs will allow you to complete the prerequisites in the summer before you start the program and take the rest of the classes concurrently with your regular grad courses.
  • yauponyaupon Registered User Posts: 582 Member
    What juillet said. Great post.

    Would you consider a minor or a concentration in WGS ?
  • GrobinGrobin Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thank you so much Juliet. You really have opened my eyes. I appreciate it. It never occurred to me that even with a phd I would be able to teach classes, but the classes I would be able to teach would be slim, and those with broader PhDs and masters are better off, and that has helped me realize what I would like to do, and how I would like to end up in the future.

    I think I may lean more towards communication sciences disorders or linguistics major and then minor in WGS, then maybe like was mentioned, I could help organizations overseas, and could always assist with healthcare with the organizations and groups of people I am now advocating and working with. I really like the sound of that, I have been thinking of it and appreciate the reassurance!

    Thank you all so much. I will definitely take this all into consideration!
  • madglavmadglav Registered User Posts: 118 Junior Member
    edited May 2014
    In general, the humanities here have higher unemployment rates. Even if the unemployments rate might be the same, that doesn't mean the jobs humanities majors they get are as good.
    Also, if you work a job as a barista or cashier, was going to college worth it? You're technically employed, but definitely underemployed given that you have a college degree. In that sense, your college degree didn't help and probably wasn't worth the price you paid.
    Also take into account that a lot of these majors don't take into account age. The economy now is much worse than it was when older people graduated from high school, meaning that there likely aren't any good jobs for college grads today if you have a liberal arts or humanities degree.
This discussion has been closed.