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Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry that critically examines women's roles, achievements, and experiences, both historically and cross-culturally. Women's Studies brings to light valuable information about women in the family, at work, in the arts, in politics, and in the sciences--information that traditional scholarship has overlooked. Women's Studies explores the relationship between cultural definitions of feminine behavior and the realities of women's lives. It considers the ways class, race, ethnicity, and age shape the female experience. Women's Studies examines the ways in which gender -- our notions of masculinity and femininity -- is socially and culturally constructed rather than determined by biology alone. Uniting all Women's Studies inquiry is the effort to understand and explain the inequality between men and women and to envision change. The discipline began as an academic field in the 1970s with connections to popular feminist movements in the 1960s.
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