Women's Studies Programme

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The founders of the Women's Studies Programme. Left to right: Wendy Robbins, Jennie Hornosty, Vicky Gray and Gillian Thompson, 1986. PR; Series 2; Sub-series 4; File 1007; Item 1.

The landmark report on the Status of Women at UNB, published in 1979, had identified the need for a Women's Studies Programme at the University. Such a programme would attempt to acknowledge and study the past and current experiences and accomplishments of women, an area long-neglected by traditional scholarship. A number of disciplinary courses addressing women's experience were offered at UNB in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the first of which dealt exclusively with women entitled "Psychology of Women." The idea of such a course was poorly received by some members of the university community, but planning for the creation of a Women's Studies programme continued into the mid-1980s. This programme was approved in 1985 and students were admitted the following year.

The establishment of UNB's Women's Studies Programme was the result of the efforts of a determined group of professors: Vicky Gray, Jennie Hornosty, Wendy Robbins, Janet Stoppard, and Gillian Thompson. Although others were involved in the effort, these five women, representing the departments of Psychology, Sociology, English, and History, are the acknowledged "founding mothers" of the Women's Studies Programme.

When the Women's Studies Programme was established in 1986, it also subsidized the creation of a variety of groups associated with the programme, including the Student Women's Committee, the Women's Studies Research Group, and the Women's Studies Council, which in particular worked to establish connections to the wider university community and beyond.

As an inter-disciplinary programme, Women's Studies weaves together courses in various disciplines with courses specifically designated as part of the Women's Studies programme. Current selections include courses in Anthropology, Classics, Education, English, French, History, Political Science, Psychology, Russian, Sociology, and Spanish. Although the program was initially offered only as a Minor, Majors and Honours options soon became available and a Master's in Women's Studies is now offered.


  • UNB Calendars (UA RG 86), 2006/07, p. 289-90.
  • University of New Brunswick Women's Studies Programme fonds, UA RG 334. "Reflections on Women's Studies at UNB," speech given by Gillian Thompson, 30 September 1996, Unprocessed, Archives & Special Collections, University of New Brunswick Libraries, Fredericton, New Brunswick.

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