Program Description

The Gender and Women’s Studies program brings together faculty and students from a variety of disciplines to investigate the status and position of women as participants in past and contemporary societies. This interdisciplinary program is an adjunct to a student’s academic major. Students will explore gender-based issues from an historical, literary, and multi-cultural perspective. This interdisciplinary program currently offers a minor.


Gender Studies panel The Gender and Women’s Studies program at UH Hilo promotes an interdisciplinary understanding of how race, class, sexuality, nation and other elements of diversity intersect with the study of women and categories of gender. Our mission is to cultivate active leadership skills and a sense of responsibility grounded in a critical social justice approach to individual and collective transformation in Hawaiʻi and beyond. In the UH Hilo Gender and Women’s Studies program, empowerment of students has both inward and outward goals. Inwardly, Gender and Women’s Studies enables students to extricate themselves in a constructive and intelligent manner from reductive structures or conflicts. This empowerment enhances self-esteem, creating a strong and positive attitude that encourages further education. Outwardly, the student of Gender and Women’s Studies learns to challenge institutional barriers, demonstrates leadership in the workplace, and acquires an increased awareness of working with others of different cultures and genders. Our curriculum advances both of these goals to inspire students as agents of change.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the Gender and Women’s Studies minor will have a firm understanding of the role of gender and sexual identity in a variety of areas including history, health, geography, culture, politics, literature, and language. Furthermore, the major or minor will enhance preparation for a number of professional and post-graduate areas including government, law, industrial relations, social services, politics, medicine, and education.

  1. Identify and analyze the intersections among gender, sexuality, and other socially meaningful constructions such as race, class, religion, nation, and ethnicity.
  2. Acquire critical theoretical perspectives and apply a range of methods to the study of history, society, media, science, culture, and other human endeavors.
  3. Apply feminist and queer inquiries to the construction of gender, representations of sexuality and sexual identity, and the differential power structures that create, replicate, and contest these social categories.
  4. Locate and examine one’s own gender roles and question assumptions (including heteronormativity) that impact everyday life and relationships in order to promote health, advocacy, and social justice.
  5. Delineate historical and contemporary aspects of feminism, social justice activism, and women’s contributions to culture, politics, and society.
  6. Demonstrate clear, logical, and critical thinking about the theory and practice of gender roles in a global context.
  7. Communicate effectively in verbal and written form.