education to empower 

Grounded in an area rich with feminist and women's history, Hobart and William Smith's Gender and Feminist Studies program examines the intricacies of topics such as gender, race, social expectations and more. As a major or minor, you'll engage in conversations regarding sexuality, gender, race, identity, disability and justice through interdisciplinary courses and cocurricular experiences. You'll graduate prepared for a career in many fields including law, healthcare, social work and the arts.

Gender and Feminist Studies lives under the Gender, Sexuality and Intersectional Justice department at HWS. The department links the Colleges’ programs on race, sexuality, gender, disability and more, providing holistic, interdisciplinary views on topics including sexual orientation and gender identity. 


Experiential EducationUnderstanding Gender

Study the legacy of social justice warriors in the gender and abolition corridor, which includes the site of the first women's rights convention and Harriet Tubman's historical home, or discuss feminist issues on a student written and produced podcast. 

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.



No Borders:Global Education

Explore gender dynamics in Brazil, feminist ideologies in the Czech Republic or health care access equality in England.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.


Belonging, Diversity and Equity

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of Gender and Feminist Studies and the Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectional Justice department. The program is based on understanding relations of power in gender, race, sexuality, and the workings of colonialism, as well as how social movements and political activism can create social transformation. Students engage with the intellectual work of diverse scholars, with the goal of providing students an intersectional and social justice driven education to create a more understanding, compassionate, and equitable world.


Courses in Gender and Feminist Studies probe how social movements and political activism can reshape how we know and make change in the world.

Courses include:

gsij 100 introduction to gender, sexuality, and intersectional justice 

Analyze the notion that sex, gender, sexuality, ability, race, and other categories of identity shape the social world in a myriad of ways, from how we organize our families and communities and how we spend time, to how we conceptualize the self and make meaning, to how we interact with our environment and create and re-create the body.

gsij 213 Transnational Feminisms

Investigate how gendered bodies travel, perform, and are understood in a wide variety of national, diasporic, and global media contexts, from theater and film, to politics and popular culture. 

gsij 247 History, Psychology, and Feminism 

Examine the intersecting stories of psychology and feminisim, from early case studies of hysteria and spiritualism through to mid-century depictions of the "mommy pill," "how the clinic made gender" and to late twentieth and early twenty-first century concerns around gender, race and bodies. 

gsij 250 chicana feminism and visual culture  

Discover Chicana feminism, from the emergence of Chicana as an identity category and its challenges to Chicano and feminist activism and the radical ways Chicanas have employed visual, performance, and graphic arts as a means of educating and catalyzing social change. 

gsij 300 Who's Afraid of Gender? questions of freedom & intersectional feminisms

Engage in matters of and movements for freedom, equality, justice and liberation through intersectional feminisms’ long history of thinkers and theory. 

gsij 305 food, feminism, and health  

Explore a variety of topics arising at the intersection of food, health, and the body, including agricultural sustainability, genetically modified foods, local food activism and nutrition and health policy. 


Amplify your Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectional Justice degree with the skills, knowledge and ethical foundation needed to be a leader in the 21st century. In partnership with the Centennial Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, our department offers the opportunity to engage in leadership development that culminates in a degree with leadership distinction and provides a competitive edge when applying to internships, jobs and graduate or professional school.

To graduate with leadership distinction, you will complete a series of foundational, action-oriented and reflective milestones within the Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectional Justice and Leadership curriculum. We encourage you to begin your leadership journey as early as your second semester on campus.

Alum ImpactPreparation to Succeed

tatianna suriel '20

Current Position: 
Master's Candidate in Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara 
Current Location:
Santa Barbara, CA   
Anthropology-Sociology, Women's Studies 

"I have found that the expectations HWS professors held me to and the level of critical thinking that was necessary to succeed has been applicable to just about everything I encounter. More importantly, HWS taught me the importance of advocating for yourself, your needs, and the needs of other people. I find myself thriving in nearly every environment I encounter because I understand what I need to succeed."

HWS Alums Engaged in Gender, Sexuality and Intersectional Justice work: 

  • Elizabeth Saucier Atkinson ‘07: Director of Accessibility Services; Husson University 
  • Tahisha E. Ayala-Dean ‘05: Behavior Specialist; McKinley Elementary School 
  • Alexandra Brind ‘22: Human Resource Analyst and Compensation Coordinator; St. John Fisher University 
  • Alyssa Deem ‘18: Physician Assistant Student; D’Youville College 
  • Zosia Borst-Censullo Freeman ‘10: Social Worker; Riverside County Regional Medical Center Foundation
  • Brendan Csaposs '09: Global Lead of Academic Operations; Nova Pioneer 
  • Sara Jones ‘00: Investigator Supervisor; Orleans Public Defenders 
  • Lauren Karam ‘15: Attorney-Environmental Law; Beveridge & Diamond 
  • Ashley Lima ‘06: Nurse; Rochester General Hospital 
  • Stacey Maceda ‘19: Development Operations Associate; Harlem Children’s Zone
  • Thomas Michaud '12: Lead Foreman; Dark Harbor Property Management 
  • Dereck O. Norville-Bowie '06: Associate Director of Institutional Research & Assessment; Hostos Community College
  • Ruby Verbitsky ‘21: Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Unit Administrator; Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office 

universities where our students are studying 

  • Yale School of Nursing's Midwifery and Women's Health
  • Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Nursing
  • Maastricht University Master of Public Policy
  • University of New England Master of Social Work
  • Daeman College Master of Social Work
  • University of Buffalo School of Law