About us

Curious how ideas about gender and sexuality impact society? Learn about how social movements and political activism can change the world in this interdisciplinary field of study. The Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (GSWS) at Simon Fraser University grew from the first women’s studies program in Canada. We aim to bring feminist, queer, and intersectional understandings to the analysis of power and how it operates locally and transnationally. We continue to build an interdisciplinary environment that nurtures and promotes critical research and scholarship, engaged teaching, and meaningful community service. We are committed to cultivating innovation, intellectual freedom, social justice activism, diversity, and transformative resistance to inequality.

We offer major, joint major, minor, and extended minor programs. We also have an active student union which has organized many fun on-campus events such as movie screenings, seminars and panels, and barbeques. The GSWS Student Union actively participates in a variety of on and off campus events and initiatives that advance gender inclusivity and sexual diversity including faculty conversations, peaceful protests, and community organizing.

History of Department

Simon Fraser University was the first university in Canada to develop a credit Women's Studies Program.

  • 1971 - the first credit course, the Geography of Gender, was offered.
  • July 1975 - the proposal for a Women's Studies Minor Program was approved by the University Senate.
  • January 1976 - the first Women's Studies course was offered. Forty students enrolled in WS 101, Introduction to Women's Studies.
  • By 1999-2000, almost 650 students were enrolled in over 40 Women's Studies courses.
  • 2004 - the first PhD students were admitted into the program.
  • The department now has a number of undergraduate programs including a major and also offers an MA program and a PhD program.
  • December 2009 - SFU Senate officially approved department name change to Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
  • Present - There are six full-time faculty members, twenty faculty from other departments who serve as associate members of the department, one adjunct faculty member, one senior lecturer and two staff members employed by the department.

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