It wasn’t to long ago that the convosation around the importance of Gender Studies was completely focused on La Trobe University who faced significant backlash in 2012 when they decided to axe the Gender Studies Major quoting a lack of interest as the reason. The University of Wollongong has also cut Gender Studies as a major, and their Women’s Department have been looking into running free lectures around Gender Studies so students can continue to engage. And now the University of Queensland has decided to follow in their footsteps.
This is a huge issue as not simply because a reduction in courses and subjects that students have to choose from is a detriment to their education by lack of breadth but also because it awkwardly reflects a lot of what is taught in these courses. To be honest I can’t think of better way to mirror the content of these courses about how women have been undervalued and had to fight for every freedom we enjoy today but also show the distance we still have to go than by cutting them.
It is sad to see that these universities have not noticed that Melbourne University also cut their Gender Studies department in 2008 and have realised they made the wrong decision and have reinstated it this year. I guess we can only hope that La Trobe University, the University of Queensland and Wollongong will realise this and decide to reinstate the departments. Although I wouldn’t hold my breath. So if this is something that you want to do something about please sign this Education Department petition to Universities Australia and Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) to do something to preserve Gender Studies in Australia.
You can sign the petition here
National Women’s Officer 2013