THE LONG-TERM IMPACT OF WOMEN'S STUDIES ON STUDENTS’PERSONAL LIVES AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM

Authors


  • We appreciate the assistance of Lisa Ellis, who participated in the data analysis, and the teachers of the University of Missouri–St. Louis, who allowed us to distribute questionnaires to their students.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jayne E. Stake, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri–St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121.

Abstract

Stake, Roades, Rose, Ellis, and West (1994) reported that women's studies classes led to more feminist activism and greater personal courserelated changes than nonwomen's studies classes. The present study tested the durability of the positive changes observed in women studies students 9 months following the last week of class. Comparisons between students who participated at follow-up (26.3%) and students who did not participate indicated that the follow-up participants were representative of all students who completed the courses. In the follow-up sample, class impact reported in the last week of class was sustained at follow-up. Women's studies students continued to report substantial changes in their interactions with others and willingness to adopt new roles and behaviors. Ratings of positive effects were significantly higher than ratings of negative effects (p < .0001). Students’responses indicated they were using their women's studies learning as a framework for understanding their experiences and making lifestyle changes.

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