Women’s & gender studies




The purpose of this assignment is to help you define and explore a relevant issue related to women and men in contemporary societies. By reading about the gendered issues in society that you consider important, you develop a better awareness of the relationships between gender and society and how they interact and impact individuals. You can choose an issue in your local community, in the nation, or a more global issue that affects everyone.  Writing critically about the issue you select and attempting to develop solutions will help clarify your own perspective and values.  You will be able to look at how the issue originated and examine what can be done about it.

Some ideas of topics: the wage gap and/or comparable worth policies; juggling work and family; men as stay-at-home caregivers; politics; women and men in nontraditional occupations; sex work; sexual harassment. This is just a beginning – allow the coursework and discussions we have inform your final decision!


  1. Your topic can be selected by reading an article on a current or historical issue related to men/women/gender in a daily newspaper (local or national) or a weekly news magazine (such as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, etc…).  I highly suggest perusing the daily news often to give yourself an opportunity to come across an issue that you are interested in learning more about. It does not have to be an issue that we discussed in class, but it should be an issue about which you are concerned.
  • After finding a topic or issue you are interested in, you will continue to research that topic by using at least three other outside sources:  Peer-reviewed journal articles or reputable information sources (i.e. government or academic websites). You can access peer-reviewed journal articles through Morris Library. (If you are unsure of how to do this, please let me know or visit a Research Librarian at the library.)
  • You will use the attached worksheet as a guide as you research your topic. The worksheet is provided as a place to jot down your thoughts and answers, but then you will turn that into a four to six page narrative essay that should be clear and concise.  (Narrative means you will discuss this issue in a story-telling fashion, not a listing of questions and answers.  If you have questions about what this means, PLEASE ask me!!)
  • This essay should be in your own words.  It will be turned in via a link provided in D2L that utilizes Turnitin, which gives a percentage of similarity to other sources.  That percentage should ideally be less than 20%. I will deduct points for any percentages above 20%.  I want to hear what you have to say and how you have interpreted the issue you have chosen.  Copying and pasting from other sources is not acceptable.  A few quotations are acceptable. Additionally, I expect all papers to be good quality, edited, error-free papers and points will be deducted for poorly written papers.
  • You must cite any sources utilized for this paper, including a References or Works Cited page.  APA format is preferable.
  • Your finished paper is due as indicated on your Syllabus.  It should be normal (1”) margins, Times New Roman 12 point font, double spaced. Your paper is worth 100 points.
  • A cover page is not necessary. The heading (Page 1) of your paper should look something like this (single-spaced):

Final Project


Your Name


Body of paper (will be double spaced) ……………..


As you are working through your project, keep the SOC223/WGSS223 Course Objectives (as listed on the Syllabus) at the forefront of your thinking. As you select your topic and research the data, focus on how gender differences are manifested and evident.  With that in mind as you research a suitable research topic, use the following questions to brainstorm and compile ideas. This is NOT an all-inclusive list of how to build your paper, but a starting place:

  • Why is this issue considered a gendered issue in society?
  • When, how, and where did this issue originate?  Has it been around a while?  Are we just seeing it publicized more? (This may require some digging around on the internet if your articles do not address this.  Be careful what sources you access as factual.)
  • Are there any other gendered issues related to this one? (List all of the issues that are related to the issue that you chose – both as a cause of it and as an effect of it.) 
  • Think critically: Who benefits (or stands to gain) from this issue?
  • How does this issue affect you personally?  Think about your own life and how this issue intersects with it. Address this question even if you have never encountered the problem personally.
  • What can be done, and by whom, to alleviate the issue?  Address all possible solutions that you can think of.  Experts might be baffled, so do not be afraid to use your imagination and to list whatever you think will work. 
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