Looking back, we were remarkably successful within a very short period of time.
The first women’s studies courses, at postgraduate level were set up in the early 1980s, initially at Kent and Bradford, then York, followed by many others.
Women featured only briefly, in lectures on family and kinship.
This was not a problem peculiar to sociology; women in other disciplines were facing similar biases in relation to what counted as knowledge.
During the 1990s a few more job opportunities opened up.
One consequence was that when those involved in women’s studies moved on, and their replacements often lacked the same expertise or commitment.
When a group of us in a Polytechnic proposed a women’s studies degree we met little opposition.
As far as the ‘authorities’ were concerned we could go ahead in seeking validation provided we could do so without any additional resources.
Stevi Jackson Women’s studies as an academic enterprise had its roots in second wave feminism and originated as a challenge to male-defined and male-centred knowledge.
Students studying sociology now take it for granted that gender is central to sociological analysis. The sociology I was taught as an undergraduate in the late 1960s and early 1970s was the sociology of men as if they represented the whole of society – and primarily white western men.