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We’re so glad you’re interested in the Center for Women and Gender! Below are some of the questions we get most often. If you have more questions that you don’t find the answers to below, please contact us.


The Center for Women and Gender is an academic program working to create a professional climate for women and men that will expand understanding of intersectionalities (i.e., gender and ethnicity; gender and culture; gender and religion, etc.), enhance opportunities, and build leadership skills. We offer classes that lead to a minor and to undergraduate and graduate certificates. We have a lecture and film series, and have services and programs aimed at helping faculty and students achieve work/family balance.

Gender refers to the social organization and social construction of what it means to be a boy or girl, a man or a woman. Sex refers to biological characteristics, but gender refers to the rules, regulations, and customs used by cultures, religions, social and political systems and other entities to differentiate the roles, activities, and expectations of girls from boys, women from men. Norms of femininity and masculinity are based upon a society’s construction of gender. For example, in the United States, girls are often dressed in pink, discouraged from being aggressive, and encouraged to be nurturing. Boys are often dressed in blue, discouraged from playing with dolls, and encouraged to be tough. Think about how this later intersects with careers, and why some might find it appropriate to say “lady doctor” but not “gentleman doctor.” As we continue to become sensitized to these issues globally, we will maximize the opportunities for women and men to express more fully their talents and interests.

“In the Fall of 2010, the University created the Center for Women and Gender (CWG) by consolidating several existing programs (Women’s Center, Women and Gender Studies, and Women and Gender Research Institute) under one umbrella administration. The goal was to create a single, unique and distinctive academic resource for faculty, staff, and students who are interested in the role of gender in shaping the world in which we live. The CWG embraces a tripartite mission of teaching, research and outreach and is intended to foster, stimulate and support intellectual debate, discussion and inquiries. In its short history, the CWG has established itself as a vital and vibrant intellectual resource for our campus. The center reflects our history and will help to determine our future.” Provost Raymond T. Coward, Perspectives, Vol. 1, Fall Semester 2012.

The Center exists within the Provost’s office. Because of this we are able to collaborate with all colleges and with faculty members in all colleges. Women and Gender Studies, one of our programs, is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

We are an academic program. The former Women’s Center was a student services program but Women and Gender Studies and Women and Gender Research Institute were academic programs.

Dr. Ann Austin, CWG Director is the only one on the CWG staff who teach WGS classes, but there are at least 20+ faculty members, women and men across all colleges, who teach classes that count for WGS credit. We have 6 WGS prefix courses and 60 other regularly approved electives. Because faculty members’ teaching assignments change from semester to semester, the number of classes and involved faculty changes each semester too.

Although women usually outnumber men in WGS classes, each year at least one or several men graduate with a minor or a certificate in WGS. Anyone working with people in their profession will find WGS classes helpful and enlightening. A recent USU graduate, now a city planner, commented that his WGS classes help him see the world from a perspective he had never known existed.

No, we are not an advocacy organization. Our mission is to promote an awareness of intersectionalities in its many forms and to highlight the many contributions of women that often go unnoticed. We wish to promote an understanding of social justice as it relates to the conditions and rights of women and the expression of gender.