Women’s Studies Major Approved


Flor Flores

Senior electrical engineering major Edith Mejia glances through the Women’s Studies website although the degree is not yet available to students.

Amanda Guillen, Staff Reporter

Women’s and gender studies is now on the list of 71 majors students can choose from.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved UTEP’s request of offering a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies on July 31 after noting it’s popularity at other universities.

The major is not yet offcially available, but Brenda Risch, director of the Women’s Studies Program, said the major will be guaranteed to students in the Fall 2013 semester.

Some students are looking forward to changing their major.

“There are a lot of students that have expressed how displeased they were that they could only take 18 hours in women’s studies because all we had was a minor, and because of this displeasure there was also a big call for this major,” said Sarah Walker, senior English and American literature major and lead intern at the Women’s Studies Program. She plans to change her major when it becomes available.

Courses have been taught at the university since the late ‘70s and a program was formed in 1981, Risch said.

“Women’s studies has a long history of addressing the kind of radical issues that are happening in society,” Risch said. “Because we look at all those different intersections of identity, I think it helps people feel more comfortable that the university represents a variety of viewpoints.”

Adrian Chavez, a senior who plans to became a double major in psychology and women’s and gender studies, said he wanted to see what else the program had to offer.

“As being one of two males who have declared to major in this program, I believe that it’s truly amazing,” he said.

Chavez said there are a lot of misconceptions he thinks are worth talking about.

“We want people to see beyond what others may have assumed,” he said. “Women’s studies, or in this case, the f-word (feminism), is all about women on the male-bashing band wagon. Sometimes you just want to scream out ‘no, that’s not what we’re all about.’”

Several women’s studies courses are cross-listed, for example, courses in political science and criminal justice are offered this semester.

“Women’s studies is for everybody, it really does have content that affects everybody’s life and I think it can enrich anybody’s degree plan,” Walker said. “There is a lot of quality here, and I think that shows in our enrollment growth and the way that people have taken interest in our program.”

For more information about Women’s and Gender Studies visit Liberal Arts Room 233.

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected]