Gender and Feminist Studies (GaFS) Network CSU

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Advancing interdisciplinary research and scholarship

The Gender and Feminist Studies (GaFS) Research Network at Charles Sturt University works in association with Gender Equity and Athena SWAN.

We are a tri-faculty initiative – our co-leaders are:
• Dr Donna Bridges (Faculty of Arts and Education)
• Dr Larissa Bamberry (Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Science)
• Dr Chelsea Litchfield (Faculty of Science)

Our vision
The Gender and Feminist Studies Network strives to be a nationally and internationally recognised network that shares knowledge, collaborates on research projects and provides leadership in gender and feminist studies.

Our mission
To advance and promote the Gender and Feminist Studies Network at Charles Sturt University as a visible and principal research entity in Australia and internationally. To produce research about women, gender and sexuality from a feminist and gender studies perspective. To pursue feminist inquiry related to gender equity and women’s empowerment.

Goals and Objectives
• Advance scholarship and research at Charles Sturt in the area of gender studies
• To contribute to knowledge, research and policy about women and gender in Charles Sturt regions, nationally and internationally.
• To establish relationships with international research partners and develop opportunities for partnerships and collaborative research.
• Cultivate research that is about women and for women and uses feminist research principles in design and methodology. To provide infrastructure and support for HDR students in this area
• To be responsive to the needs of our regions
• Promote and support internal and/or external research collaborations and the development of larger research teams and partnerships to facilitate critical research mass within the university

About gender and feminist studies
Gender and feminist studies are interrelated and overlapping areas of study, but each have their own identity as well.

Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary theoretical framework where gender, as a social category, is central to analysis. Sex, gender and sexuality are factors of social life that attract much social regulation of the ‘self’, the body and the ‘roles’ we perform. These are governed by social norms, expectations and belief systems – all of which are socially designed, regulated and enforced. The theories of gender studies seek to increase understandings regarding how the social constructions of gender underpin powerful social rules around propriety, conformity and deviance regarding sex and gender – and how these shape our everyday experiences.

Gender studies aims to increase understandings about femininity, masculinity, sexuality and identity. Researchers in the field of gender studies focus on a wide range of aspects concerning gender theory:
• Questions of gender and power
• Gender inequalities
• The ways masculinity and femininity are enacted in the world
• Intersections between gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, ethnicity and religion.

Feminist research and scholarship is rich and diverse and there are many schools of thought under this one banner. Nevertheless, it is possible to say that there exists a unified premise that women should have equal rights and opportunities and society – and that ‘the personal is political’. Feminist studies are conducted on behalf of women’s interests and seek social justice and social change for women. They encompass social, political and economic equality and aim to understand the nature of gender inequality. Feminist research and scholarship is informed by the belief that all social processes are ‘gendered’, and that feminist analysis and knowledge are the best tools for understanding gendered social processes to empower and encourage women’s participation in all areas of society. Areas of research focus in the GaFs research network include:
• Gender and work
• Women’s participation in sport
• Women working in non-traditional roles

Contact Co-Leader Donna Bridges

Advancing the United Nations Social Development Goal 5: Gender Equality
Athena SWAN Gender Equity Charter at Charles Sturt