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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

GVSU celebrates 45 years of feminism

GVSU Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department

The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program at Grand Valley State University dates back to the 1970s – also the first time in history women’s studies entered academic spaces across the United Sates. 

Since then, says Kathleen Underwood, former chair of the department, the program has positioned itself to teach students critical thinking skills. 

“So, I think students who engage in the program directly learn a different set of analytical skills or a different way of viewing and critiquing the world in which they live and that is through the intersection of gender, race and class.” 

For alum, Dani Villela, a degree from the department, has allowed her to become what she calls a professional feminist.  

“One of the questions that I always get asked is: ‘wait a minute, so you can actually make a living being a feminist, you get paid to be a feminist., and my response is ‘yeah, I do, I am a professional one is what puts a roof over my head.” 

Being a professional feminist for Villela means influencing policy through her work as the Political and Advocacy Field Manager for Planned Parenthood of Michigan where she gest to ask the following questions…

“So, how do policies like earned pay sick time, for example in the state legislature, how does that specifically affect people of different genders in different ways.”

Villela will be sharing on how she has turned feminism into a career at the department’s anniversary celebration taking place today at the Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium in GVSU’s Pew Campus at 4pm. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.