Careers with a Women's Studies Degree


You may have heard that a degree in women’s studies isn’t “useful”, like an accounting, management, or engineering degree. And no, it’s not like those degrees, there is no set, easy to determine career path at the end of the tunnel... but it’s far from useless.


There's more to pursuing this major that just getting a job when you're done; it’s about changing your perspective on life; it can help give you new perspective that you’ll use in every relationship, every job, and every circumstance.


As far as being useless, nothing could be further from the truth. What’s so useless about learning to question stereotypes, or about learning to become an agent of change for equality and other social issues?


I know what you’re thinking; the reason those other degrees are considered useful is because they teach you specific skills that can be applied to very specific careers. But with a women’s studies degree, you explore so many different subject areas, and gain the ability to pursue any career that makes use of the skills this degree teaches you.


We think the identity of this degree as being “useless” is mostly attributable to the fact that the skills you can learn, and the subsequent careers you can pursue, are hard to identify. So, let’s identify them.


This careers guide serves to opens doors for you that you may not have known were there. We will show you what skills this degree teaches you, and what careers you can pursue with those skills. We’ve even included relevant scholarships to help you pay for school.


What Is Women’s Studies? What Can it Teach You?

Women’s studies programs explore the history, thought and experiences of women from a range of viewpoints, using a multi-disciplinary approach. The ultimate goal is to help you gain insight into the role of women and gender in today’s society.


A degree in this field arms you with ideas and answers to questions on how to interpret culture and your existence within it, and how to go out into the world and make it better, and more inclusive.


Have you ever wondered why women are underrepresented in politics, or in high-level jobs? Or, have you ever wondered how gender stereotypes influence religion, politics, or popular culture?


If you haven’t asked these questions, it’ll teach you to. And if you have, it’ll give you answers. Most importantly, it also teaches you how not to be a bystander while all of these issues exist. It teaches you how to act as an agent of change in society.





Employable Skills It Can Teach You

The coursework of a women's studies program can provide you with the opportunity to posses a valuable skill set that is unique to the field of study. Unlike other academic fields, the memorization of facts does not figure prominently in this major.


Instead, coursework in this field is more concerned with free inquiry, originality and creativity. As a result, you can gain many skills, including:


• Unique perspective on women’s lives and work

• Awareness of intersections of gender, class and ethnicity

• Ability to understand women's realities and experiences

• Gender analysis skills

• Inclined to think critically and be involved politically

• Awareness of inter-cultural conflicts and perspectives

• Knowledge of issues relevant to women and society

• Ability to understand multi-sectional and multi-layered issues


These skills are best applied to careers relevant to the subject matter of the degree, although they can be applied to almost any career.



Careers Relevant to a Women's Studies Degree

In all honesty, it’s hard to find a career that a women’s studies degree isn’t an excellent foundation for, because of the many skills it enables you to learn. There might not be a career on the planet to which skills such as the ability to understand multi-layered issues, and strong critical thinking, cannot be applied.


The following is a list of careers in our database that we feel are the most directly relevant to the subject matter of major in this field.


• Adoption Services Worker

• Anthropologist

• Assistant Personnel Officer

• Biographer

• Blogger

• Career Counselor

• Community Mobilization Director

• Community Outreach Coordinator

• Community Services Director

• Criminologist

• Crisis Intervention Specialist

• Domestic Violence Victim Advocate

• Election Officer

• Elementary School Teacher

• Equal Opportunity Officer

• Essayist

• Family Counselor

• Foster Care Worker

• Fundraiser

• Gender Consultant

• Government Researcher

• Human Rights Activist

• Human Rights Commission Development Officer

• International Aid Worker

• Journalist

• Lawyer

• Legal Advisor

• Legislative Aide

• Lobbyist

• Multiculturalism Liaison Officer

• NGO Area Coordinator

• Non-Profit Foundation Manager

• Political Campaign Manager

• Political Researcher

• Political Scientist

• Pregnancy Counselor

• Program Assistant for a Human Rights Organization

• Psychotherapist

• Sexual Abuse Counselor

• Sexual Assault Educator

• Sexual Health Educator

• Social Services Coordinator

• Social Worker

• Sociologist

• Union Organizer

• University Professor

• Visible Minorities Corporate Policy Officer

• Witness Protection Program Worker

• Women's Advocate

• Women's Shelter Staff

• Women's Shelter Supervisor


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require a graduate or professional degree, additional training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the specific requirements.



Transferrable Skills You Can Acquire in Women’s Studies

If you’re not necessarily interested in a career related to the subject matter of your degree, that’s okay. Because of the general skills you can gain by studying women’s studies, you can become a competent employee in almost any industry!


To many employers, the skill set you bring to the table is much more important than the specific field your degree is in. So, while a women’s studies degree may not ‘get you a job’ per say, it does provide you with a skill set that makes you a valuable asset for any organization:


Research Abilities

• Conceptualize a research project from start to finish

• Define question or issue to be researched and design a study answer and understand it

• Collect data and draw conclusions based on the results

• Make recommendations based on conclusions

• Identify ethical issues in research methods


Cross-cultural Awareness and Understanding

• Sensitivity to racial, ethnic and gender differences in values and perceptions

• Ability to operate within the context of gender and other diversities

• High level of intercultural awareness


Communication Skills

• Develop, research and write organized studies and reports

• Use computer programs to create graphs, tables and diagrams

• Excellent passive communications skills in observation and listening

• Ability to express yourself in a clear, concise and effective manner


Success Tip: Be aware, that in a cover letter or an interview, you should be prepared to explain how your skills are a great fit for the job.





Typical Salary Level of Women's Studies Grads

The salary you could earn as a women’s studies graduate first entering the workforce can vary drastically, and is heavily dependent on the following factors (not an inclusive list):


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The type of job you have, and your level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have


Graduate Salary - Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $38,407 CAD* is the average salary earned by Humanities graduates, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2010.


*This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor’s degree in the Humanities, not specifically for women’s studies graduates. Unfortunately, similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources.



Gaining Career Experience as a Student

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in women’s studies, do your best to get work experience in the field before you graduate. Working in an internship (also known as a practicum, field placement or co-op work opportunity) is the best way to do this. The benefits of an internship truly can’t be understated…and they include:


Meeting other people who share your professional interests

If you are lucky enough to land an internship in a career related to women’s studies, then you will have the chance to meet others who share the same professional interests, and who share the same passions for the subject matter that you do.


You can see them operate on daily basis, you can ask them what it is they like about what they do, you can learn how they got where they, and you can get idea of the dynamics of the environment they work in.


Making your own conclusions about certain careers

Have you heard a career in women’s studies involves too little of playing field leveling for gender equality issues, and too many mundane tasks like paperwork and data entry? Have you been warned not to pursue a career in women’s studies because it consumes too much of your personal life?


Well, gaining experience in the field before you graduate can help you either prove or disprove such rumors. Even if they’re proven to be true, you may have such a passion for what you are doing that you may decide that’s where you want to be anyway.


Strengthening your resolve to pursue a women’s studies-related career

Once you’ve gotten a sample of what working life could be like in your chosen field, you may find yourself even hungrier and more determined to succeed than you were before. If you discover that it can offer intellectual, emotional, creative and professional fulfillment, you may find yourself suddenly even more dedicated to your coursework, and that can only mean good things!


Getting your foot in the door with an employer

If you’re fortunate enough to have earned an internship, you may have already begun your career without knowing it. This may be a little bold to suggest, but it’s true that many employers offer their interns a full-time, or even part-time, position upon graduation if they are satisfied with the work of the intern.


Think about it, hiring an intern upon graduation is a very efficient financial move for employers. It saves them from bearing the cost of recruiting, interviewing and hiring someone new, which can be quite a costly endeavor. 






How Do I Find a Women’s Studies Related Internship?

Your degree program may or may not require you to participate in an internship or other form of work experience program. However, if it is an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you.


If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other Women’s Studies, Humanities, or General Undergraduate department staff ,as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.


Please Note: If you’re seeking an internship from an outside source, be cautious. Many internship opportunities operate in the grey area of employment law, and are designed to use students as free labour in order to perform mundane tasks.



Relevant Scholarships

If you’re a women’s studies major looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to this field of study and scholarships that are open to any field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations

To find out more about careers directly related to your women’s studies degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health

Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women

National Association of Women and the Law

Women's and Gender Studies et Recherche Feministe


United States

Association of Women's Health

National Women's Studies Association



Feminist Alliance for International Action

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

International Women's Rights Project



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