The Vermont Connection


Betsy Crouch


The introduction of Women’s Studies programs into the academy has been one of American higher education’s greatest success stories of the last 40 years. These programs’ foundation in political activism, focus on diversity and social justice, and collaborative learning environments have created academic communities for women to share their unique perspectives and connect their personal experiences with traditional scholarship. Despite internal debates about how the programs should be structured, what they should teach, and whom they should represent, the efforts of Women’s Studies faculty and students have transformed higher education’s traditional male-dominated curriculum. By examining the history, key characteristics, and overall impact of Women’s Studies programs on the academy, this article will demonstrate that these programs are still relevant and must continue to exist and evolve in order to fulfill their mission of giving a voice to people with oppressed identities.