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20A grad students

IGDS graduate students team up to assist at the IGDS 20th Anniversary Conference, LRC Auditorium, November 2013

 

Meet Our Students

A degree in Gender and Development Studies/ Interdisciplinary Gender Studies opens many diverse possibilities for future employment. The IGDS academic programme introduces students to relevant global, regional and national development issues; fosters critical thinking; develops strong verbal, writing and research skills, and encourages social advocacy. Increasingly international organisations, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organisations, colleges and universities are seeking to hire specialists in Gender Studies.

 

Why Study Gender?

Nneka St. Rose

MSc in Gender and Development Studies
UWI St. Augustine

I enrolled in my first gender studies course while pursuing my bachelor’s degree in sociology, and immediately I knew that I had to make gender studies an integral part of my life. This course left ingrained in me so many questions about the way gender is constructed within society and how it impacts on our lives. After enrolling in the master’s degree programme at IGDS, I recognized myself as a gendered being and gained an appreciation of what that meant in my daily existence. I appreciated the small size and intimate settings of the classes, the availability of the faculty and the general openness of the Institute. The classes never felt like work or a chore; rather, it was like participating in a very open family-like atmosphere where persons could freely share experiences while gaining a better understanding of the complexity of gender. I was enthralled by the fact that faculty members were not only filled with theoretical knowledge, but also had vast practical knowledge and experience in the field. Having graduated with the MSc in Gender and Development, I have gained a greater understanding of the way gender identities are shaped within society, not as isolated entities, but working in tandem with other identities impacting on the way people are treated. Though I am no longer a student of IGDS, I carry with me what I have learnt for a lifetime and this is evident in my every day interactions, the organizations with which I align myself, as well as my continued efforts to effect change in any way I can. 

 

Marissa Richardson

MSc in Gender and Development Studies
UWI St. Augustine

In Gender Studies every voice, heart, mind, soul and experience is valuable and valid. None are placed on a hierarchy as society tends to do with everything that exits. The focus is on ubiquitous egalitarianism and equity. Gender/feminist studies transform lives and puts variegated experiences into perspective. It gives a certain focus and significance to vulnerable and at-risk groups that are often neglected, rejected and dejected. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Gender and Development Studies has enabled me to be much more aware of the injustices and false ideologies that permeate our society, as well as the positive differences that the knowledge from this field of study can make. This is so, since it encourages not only academic writing, but an equally important feature of gender studies, which is the practical aspect of putting theory into practice. This bonus which I took advantage of, has allowed me to make great strides in the areas of Advocacy, Outreach and Empowerment, which have positively impacted youths and community groups in the country. Everyone should have knowledge about gender and feminism. It can change the world.

 

Amilcar Sanatan

MPhil Gender and Development
UWI St. Augustine

This may sound scary but Gender Studies brought me to the realization – the more I know the less I learn. The opposite also holds true - the more I learn the less I know. At IGDS, we question the assumptions and epistemological problems of Caribbean scholarship. Are we just a meeting place for Academics Anonymous? No! We blend our academic interrogations with activist work involving the arts, civil society action, community dialogue and so on. Gender Studies helped me in my ambition to give justice to the voices and lives of men and women in society as well as have them feel justified in the Caribbean landscape. Gender studies is more than a career for me, it is a calling. Here, the world is our field of study and the visions and possibilities for a better world are endless...

 

Stephanie Leitch

UWI St. Augustine Campus

There are some things of which every person should be aware, the most important of these being self. Even though many of us feel as though our truest self has no gender – an idea supported by a number of indigenous religious and spiritual traditions – we function in a world where people are valued primarily on the basis of physical appearance, including how our bodies are sexed. For some, this path is easier to navigate, based on the prevailing scripts that are available in a particular culture or context, while others find the gender maze far more difficult to navigate. The latter group may include intersexed & transgendered folk, non-heterosexuals or those who simply do not fit neatly into any one box. It is within these communities that I have found the most honesty about self – room for the acknowledgement and validation of a complex & dynamic identity that is always subject to change. I entered my own path to self-discovery that first day when I entered the gender studies classroom and now that I take my leave I am an unimaginably better person, not because I am perfect but because I am no longer afraid.

 

Aleah Natasha Ranjitsingh

PhD in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
UWI St. Augustine Campus

As a student of Political Science, I recognized that the lives of women and their stories seemed invisible in political and especially development discourse. As a result, I was drawn to look at how women impacted political, social and economic landscapes and vice versa. With an interest in Caribbean and Latin American politics and especially the need to bring a deeper feminist and gender perspective to my research, I decided to leave my alma mater in New York and join the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) at UWI, St. Augustine. As a part of the PhD programme at IGDS, I am not only surrounded by and have access to the best, especially Caribbean feminists, activists and scholars, but the grounded teaching, academic support, networks and friendships I have acquired are priceless. The Interdisciplinary nature of the programme has allowed me the space and support to conduct my own research, and I feel confident that as a part of IGDS, I will one day make my mark on development discourse by making visible those women whose lives are impacted daily by the political, social and economic processes around them.

Warren Chanansingh

Student taking gender courses offered within the minor
BSc. Psychology and Communication Studies (Double Major)
UWI St. Augustine Campus

Gender studies, with just one, four month course, has changed my life forever. GEND 1103 : Introduction to Women’s Studies, opened the doors of my mind like a vacuum, and exposed my consciousness to the universe. I was able to see how gender relations, sex, sexism and sexuality formed the world in our history, our politics, religions, languages, psychology, overall societies and even our daily interactions with one another. Gender studies allowed me to have a new world view, through the development of critical thinking; something that I haven’t exactly found in any other course in The University thus far. The content allows for application of knowledge to our everyday lives, and inspires change in individuals. The faculty and courses are purely inspirational, with the work being done even in UWI’s IGDS being able to have an impact on Caribbean Society. From my experiences with Gender courses, I, myself, have found the courage and desire to enact positive change in Trinidad and Tobago, through the formation of a Youth NGO targeting Youth Sexuality, Bullying, Suicide Prevention, and Counselling. Through gender studies, a person can truly see how the power of one individual can help change the world, to promote equity and equality. Gender studies courses are truly a fantastic journey, unlike any other experienced, as through learning in a classroom, you are taught to go out and change the world.

Michael Francis Grandison

MSc in Gender and Development Studies
UWI St. Augustine Campus

It is rooted in a clear understanding that like slavery and racism, misogyny in all its manifestations is a humanly constructed evil. Similarly, gender biases permeate all facets of human relations and need to be challenged. The Institute for Gender and Development Studies includes academic and activist work that provides a space for understanding and transforming the world in ways that enhance gender equality and social justice. I have been able to combine my background in Theology with teachings from Gender Studies and other research disciplines such as Agriculture, Life Sciences and Economics. What I have learned from these interactions is that gender is a living and permeating discourse. Its mantra is to influence gender mainstreaming, equity and equality from wherever one is based because human lives, especially those of women and children, are affected by plans and policies coming out from all disciplines and faculties. Imagine what could happen, in terms of human socio-political and economic relations, if planners and policy makers performed their duties using gender and perhaps feminist lenses. What a great and just world it will be, when the Lamb and the Lion move in harmony. I continue to be drawn into the light of gender studies with the hope that one day the dream will become a reality; that men and women will be treated as equals and will work as one for the common good of all.

Anusha Jennifer Ragbir

PhD in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
UWI St. Augustine Campus

Through my own life experiences, I began to realise the extent to which people’s attitudes and behaviours are shaped by their understanding of gender and gender roles and identities. This made me yearn for a deeper understanding myself. When I first became introduced to the Gender and Development Studies programme it was at the M.Sc. Level. It truly became a life-altering experience as I not only found a sense of kinship and belonging at the Centre but also I felt like I could add value to it. I am committed towards change; this includes not only justice for women in every facet of life but to one day see this system we call patriarchy crumble and fall. Equality and equity remain our goals here and the Institute promotes these ideals through education and activism and continues to inspire passion in all of us. It has surely shaped the direction of my academic life because after achieving my Masters in Gender I immediately was drawn into the Ph.D programme and I believe this can help me make my most significant contributions to society.