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Gender Studies

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Why study Gender?

Gender is a complex element of social and cultural existence with far-reaching implications for the course of our lives. It shapes the work we do and how we spend our leisure time. It affects not only our identities, but our income, our family relationships and friendships, the value and meanings we attach to other people and activities, what we eat and how we dress, and even how we speak.

Gender Studies explores categories such as 'women', 'men', or 'trans*', and how they can be fundamental to our own and others' understandings of who we are.

Gender Studies at Otago

At New Zealand's leading Gender Studies programme you'll be introduced to different perspectives on things you’ve always taken for granted, while you explore television, film, news media, documentary, public debate, advertising, photography, subculture and fashion as well as scholarly reading.

The staff are enthusiastic! They work interactively, and involve students actively in their own learning. Students are encouraged to think independently and to relate their academic learning to the world they encounter daily.

Gender Studies runs a core programme but also introduces you to a whole range of disciplines. A Gender Studies degree can include papers in Sociology, Criminology, Anthropology, Art History, Clothing and Textiles, Education, English, Film and Media, Geography, History, Law, Pacific Studies, Physical Education, Politics, Religious Studies, and Visual Culture. It’s up to you!

Topics covered in the core programme include:

  • Biological and cultural explanations of sex and gender
  • Bodies in popular culture
  • Cultural construction of sexuality
  • Consumer culture and work
  • Family life
  • Gender in the media
  • Violence
  • Changing concepts of what it means to be male or female
  • Gender, sexuality and state power
  • Reproduction

Detailed information about Gender Studies papers.

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Background required

All students are welcome to study Gender Studies at Otago. No prior knowledge is required.

Career Opportunities

Gender studies will enable you to develop personal and professional skills related to careers in:

  • Policy development and analysis
  • Human rights
  • Trade union and EEO work
  • Education
  • Human Resources
  • Health and community advocacy
  • Business and management
  • Journalism and the media
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Arts, entertainment and museum work

The critical perspectives and knowledge gained through training in Gender Studies are also applicable well beyond specific career contexts.