Three female students walking

Gender Studies

Leah Reuber

Prepared for the Real World

“When I began work at a university which far surpassed Coe in size, I did not find myself void of the useful knowledge that would make my professional transition into the field of student affairs an easy one. … I can use my gender studies minor to raise considerations about perceptions of gender at the college level and what that realistically looks like.”

— Leah Reuber ’11

Leah graduated with a major in philosophy and interdisciplinary major in journalism, and a minor in gender studies. A native of Bellevue, Iowa, she completed her master's degree in post-secondary education at the University of Northern Iowa. She is assistant director of residence life at Grinnell College.

The aim of the gender studies major is to provide a framework for examining gender in societies. The major focuses on the experiences of women and men of various races, classes and cultures in history, society, science and the arts. Students learn to carefully analyze the construction and perception of gender in different cultures and in different historical periods. The program is interdisciplinary by design, since the questions being asked require multiple perspectives to answer.

Coe offers a collateral major and a collateral minor in Gender Studies. The objectives of the Gender Studies program at Coe are to develop in students the following knowledge and abilities:

  • Understand the ways in which gender is fundamental to the construction of identity.
  • Ability to think critically about the ways that gender interacts with race, ethnicity, class, religion, age, sexuality, nationality and ability.
  • Understand how gender impacts the structure of social institutions including workplaces, families, schools, and government.
  • Understand the gender-related social movements that occurred during different historical periods and their significance.
  • Understand the contributions of various theoretical perspectives of sex and gender.
  • Appreciate women's and GLBT contributions to the arts, sciences, humanities, and in politics.
  • Apply gender-related theories and concepts to one's own experiences.
  • Critically engage in respectful dialogue about controversial and sensitive topics.
  • Recognize oppression and violence related to gender and sexuality locally and globally and envision creative ways to address these issues through activism.

Why Gender Studies at Coe?

  1. Committed, engaged faculty passionate about helping students inquire how gender and sexuality function in private and public life.
  2. Interdisciplinary program with an interdisciplinary focus. Gender and sexuality intersect with all fields of knowledge in multiple ways. Our goal is to uncover and closely examine what we usually assume to be “real” or “true.”
  3. Emphasis on questioning over ideology and fixed positions. What makes gender studies dynamic is that the field is constantly redefining itself and how it applies to the real world.
  4. Gender studies courses focus on valuable critical skills in analysis, writing, and speaking that are essential for a true liberal arts education. 
  5. Community of students who work independently to provide V-day events, host the annual drag show, and work toward greater gender equity and rape awareness on campus.
  6. Annual “Gender Across Borders” film fest, featuring cultures and experiences unfamiliar to most Coe students.
  7. Opportunities to present original research in gender and sexuality at the undergraduate symposium and to attend a local gender studies conference with faculty

Capstone experience at the end of the major or minor allows students to individualize their program, taking what they’ve learned in their courses to examine an interest or question independently, under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Engage like a Kohawk