GaFS - Gender and feminist studies - are interrelated and overlapping areas of study, but each have their own identity as well.
Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary theoretical framework where gender, as a social category, is central to analysis. Sex, gender and sexuality are factors of social life that attract much social regulation of the ‘self’, the body and the ‘roles’ we perform. These are governed by social norms, expectations and belief systems – all of which are socially designed, regulated and enforced. The theories of gender studies seek to increase understandings regarding how the social constructions of gender underpin powerful social rules around propriety, conformity and deviance regarding sex and gender – and how these shape our everyday experiences.
Gender studies aims to increase understandings about femininity, masculinity, sexuality and identity. Researchers in the field of gender studies focus on a wide range of aspects concerning gender theory:
- Questions of gender and power
- Gender inequalities
- The ways masculinity and femininity are enacted in the world
- Intersections between gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, ethnicity and religion.
Feminist research and scholarship is rich and diverse and there are many schools of thought under this one banner. Nevertheless, it is possible to say that there exists a unified premise that women should have equal rights and opportunities and society – and that ‘the personal is political’. Feminist studies are conducted on behalf of women’s interests and seek social justice and social change for women. They encompass social, political and economic equality and aim to understand the nature of gender inequality. Feminist research and scholarship is informed by the belief that all social processes are ‘gendered’, and that feminist analysis and knowledge are the best tools for understanding gendered social processes to empower and encourage women’s participation in all areas of society. Areas of research focus in the GaFs research network include:
- Gender and work
- Women’s participation in sport
- Women working in non-traditional roles