Women, Gender, and Queer Studies

Women, Gender, and Queer Studies

West Valley College students in front of the Louvre

Women, Gender, and Queer Studies offers students an interdisciplinary, social justice approach to examining the complex ways that gender informs identity, with an emphasis on the intersection of gender with other identity markers such as race, class, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, nation, and religion, in cultures around the world. A field at the forefront of multicultural and transnational scholarship, Women, Gender, and Queer Studies is dynamic and constantly evolving. Drawing on concepts from Global Feminist Studies and Queer Theory, WGQS courses challenge students to analyze gender and sexuality as social constructs both performative and fluid; to think critically about power dynamics based on race, gender, sexuality, social class, ability, and nation; and to develop global perspectives on inequality, development, and human rights issues. In WGQS core courses, students study the historical changes forged by the Suffrage, Civil Rights, Gay liberation, and Labor movements, while they examine contemporary social justice movements and activism in their local communities and around the globe on topics ranging from voting rights to representation in government, from sex work to human trafficking, and from the wage and education gaps to the division of labor.

The A.A. degree in Women, Gender, and Queer Studies prepares students to contribute to dialogue on issues of fairness and justice locally, nationally, and globally. The WGQS AA helps students prepare for careers in professional fields such as law, education, psychology, administration of justice, and social work; for positions in government agencies and non-governmental organizations focused on human rights and social justice; and for transfer to universities offering students opportunities to engage in advanced scholarship in the vibrant, expanding field of Feminist, Women, Gender, and Queer Studies. Prerequisites for the Women, Gender, and Queer Studies A.A. degree: none. Recommended preparation: completion of English 1A.

Learning Outcomes

Dr. Gray and student in chef hats

After completing this degree in Women, Gender, and Queer Studies, a student will be able to:

  1. Analyze gender roles using intersectional analysis, via lenses of race, ethnicity, sex identity, gender, sexuality, social class, and ability, in various cultural and historical contexts.
  2. Describe gender and sexuality as existing on a continuum rather than as static identities, using historical, psychological, sociological, and semantical language analysis as evidence.
  3. Analyze cultural attitudes about sexuality using intersectional, feminist, and historical perspectives.
  4. Analyze and critique the social construction of sexuality and gender categories such as lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, trans, and queer.
  5. Compare the social construction of gender, race, class, sexuality, and disabilities in different cultures and historical periods; analyze the intersection of these social constructs in the lives of women, men, and gender diverse individuals in different global societies
  6. Analyze and critique gender images in literature, visual and performing arts, media, and popular culture.
  7. Examine women’s access to political, social, and economic power throughout history and across cultures.
  8. Participate in dialogue about fairness and justice in matters related to sex identity, gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability, culture and religion.

Note: The WGQS core courses support both the WGQS AA degree and the Social Justice Studies (SJST) transfer degree.


The Women, Gender, and Queer Studies (WGQS) program presents the annual F-word Global Gender Symposium late every spring term, usually in late April or early May. At the symposium, students present interdisciplinary, multimedia, and oftentimes interactive research projects on issues of gender equity, social justice, and inclusion in various global contexts.

The WGQS and Social Justice Studies (SJST) programs are proud to present a Social Justice Studies Student Conference in the fall term.

The WGQS and SJST programs are proud to sponsor several equity-related events, student and campus communities, and speakers on the campus each year, and historically have collaborated with student services such as the Puente Project, the Global Citizenship Committee, Student Government, the Office of Student Equity and Success, and the Study Abroad Program.

Global Gender Symposium 2016 presenters

West Valley students in front of the Eiffel Tower

Guest speaker India Moore with student

The F-Word Presenters

West Valley College students in France

Last Updated 7/15/20