Women's studies : a general essay and a national survey : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Masterate of Education at Massey University

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Massey University
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The survey provides an analysis of Women's Studies courses for adults in New Zealand 1977 - 1978. Two postal questionnaires were utilized to compile data on the courses, organisers and participants. The preliminary questionnaire (an information sheet) established the location of a wide number of courses, and the name and address of each course organiser. The main questionnaire, administered to the course organisers, ascertained specific data concerning the nature of Women's Studies courses, organisers and participants. From this data an overview was gained of the forty six diverse Women's Studies Courses for adults offered in New Zealand during the period 1977 - 1978. This represents all the major courses taught in New Zealand at this time. The forty six courses are offered by thirty five different organisations. A large proportion of these groups are government bodies. Voluntary groups play only a small role in the provision of courses. The majority of courses are informal, non-vocational courses, with only a small proportion of courses being of a formal nature (part of qualifications and/or a training programme). Almost all of the courses are organised by women. In only two situations are men involved with women in course organisation and planning. A similar pattern emerged in course attendance where 91.2% of the participants were women and 8.8% men. There are considerable differences in the types of courses attended by men and women, A very high proportion of men attended the formal courses, whereas a large proportion of women attended informal, non-vocationally-oriented courses. In the area of course development, over 80% of courses have emerged since 1975. A large proportion of the courses were established through the Independent Initiative of female staff members. Factors such as organizational policy and 'needs' played only a very small role. In a tentative examination of the purposes and content of Women's Studies courses as regards their orientation to social change, a pattern emerged revealing that a high percentage of courses are based on an integration approach. Only a very small number of courses were oriented toward transformation and these had a "reform" approach. In the classroom situation several factors emerged. Set reading material was found in very few courses, although 50% of the courses had recommended reading of considerable variety. A large proportion of the courses utilized lectures, seminars and tutorials. A small proportion used alternative teaching and learning approaches such as workshops and group participation programmes. The average course length was 12.5 sessions with government courses longer than voluntary organisation courses. There are many implications arising from the data, and where applicable they are discussed in this study, and related to the issues of the status and survival of Women's Studies in New Zealand.
New Zealand, Women's studies