Women’s studies is an interdisciplinary field of research and study that emerged from and was influenced by the student, civil rights, New Left, peace, and women’s movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Described by Florence Howe, founder of the Feminist Press, in 1979 as the “academic arm of the women’s movement,” at its inception, women’s studies sought to bring the social and political concerns of the era, such as employment and professional advancement, pay equity, questions of marriage and family, sexual politics, and more into university curriculums. By placing women’s lives, experiences, and contributions at the center of academic study, activists and scholars hoped to counter the lack of content focusing on women’s history and issues in higher education and challenge male-dominated fields of study and male-centric bodies of knowledge. To read the complete essay, visit the Overview Essay tab of this guide.
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