Image of a white nurse's cap from the 1940s.

“USC Program Focuses on Women’s Roles in Society”

By Amy Delpo
The Gamecock, November 6, 1985

Women and Gender Studies


For generations, UofSC courses chronicled white men’s achievements. However, the movements for equal and civil rights generated a national campaign for more inclusive course offerings. As a result, UofSC introduced an Afro-American interdepartmental major in 1971.

In 1972, the Women’s Studies Institute requested recognition from the university’s administration and funding. Furthermore, this group advocated for a women’s studies program and resource center. Created in 1974, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program signaled increased respect for female achievement.

Despite student enthusiasm, this interdisciplinary program was unfunded for over a decade, and faculty were not paid for teaching the courses. Dr. Paula Feldman, the 1980 chair of the Women’s Studies Committee, explained, “Contributions of women, for whatever reasons, have been left out of history, literature, psychology,” so women and gender studies’ courses were an important “attempt to fill in the gap.” Due to continued student and faculty advocacy, the program hired its first paid director, Sue Rosser, in 1986.

Today, the program offers a minor, a Bachelor of Arts degree, and a graduate certificate. In spring 2020, 23 courses were taught, ranging from the broad “Women in Society” and “Gender and Politics” to the specific of “African American Feminist Theory.”


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