Where Activism Meets Scholarship

The Department of Women and Gender Studies examines the power relationships between gender formations and political economies, cultural productions and embodiments. Understanding gender as co-constituted with race, class, sexuality and nation, the department deploys an interdisciplinary and transnational methodology to build feminist archives, conversations and tools for social justice.


Two students sitting in the grass on a sunny day talking and laughing
Our students engage in challenging academics, work closely with professors and lead community initiatives.

Why Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State?

San Francisco State University has offered classes relating to women's studies since 1971. In 1976 the Department of Women and Gender Studies was founded, becoming one of the first such departments in the United States. Learn more about our department.

We encourage intellectual collaborations within the department, as well as across the profession, and also support applications for internal and external funding to support research productivity. Learn about our WGS Emergency Scholarship.

Faculty typically teach three courses per semester, maintain an active research and publishing profile, and advise undergraduate and graduate students in the department. Meet our faculty or find advising.

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Black and white portrait of Marjorie Stern

Honoring Marjorie Stern

Our department honors Marjorie Stern, a single mother who worked to provide for her four children while also attending San Francisco State University at the age of 36. She put her ambitions on hold after high school to become a homemaker after being discouraged from attending college by her family. However, this did not stop Marjorie from pursuing her dreams despite her circumstances. She received her bachelor's from SF State and graduated 4th in her class in 1958.

After college, Marjorie became a teacher and taught at Galileo High School for 22 years. She also taught about women and unions/labor force for 5 years at CCSF and 1 year at SFSU. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights, especially in education. Marjorie was a founding member for both the American Federation of Teacher’s (AFT’s) Women’s Rights Committee, where she served as the Chairwoman from 1971 – 1974, and Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). Marjorie established her own Scholarship at SF State and bestowed it upon our very own Women and Gender Studies Department. She wanted to give back and provide students the same opportunity she had at SF State where she was not discriminated against for her age or her gender. In recognition of Marjorie’s achievements, she was inducted into SF State’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995. Her photo still hangs in the first-floor lobby of the Administration Building.

The Marjorie H. Stern Scholarship supports women’s rights and social justice by helping Women and Gender Studies (WGS) students in immediate financial need remain in school.

Since 2014 when it was first established, the scholarship has supported a great number of students, and has been instrumental to their academic success.

“Receiving the Marjorie Stern Scholarship was an honor. This scholarship helped me focus more on my studies and worry less about my medical expenses. I had a huge medical bill that I was not sure how to cover. Because of this scholarship, I was able to both pursue my studies and pay off everything I owed.” — Samukezi Ngubane, M.A. 2016, Recipient of Marjorie Stern Graduate Scholarship

“I am so happy and grateful to be a recipient of this scholarship and I am confident of the positive impact it will make in not just my life, but also my family’s health and wellbeing.” — Clair Satuito, Undergraduate Student, 2023 Recipient of Marjorie Stern Undergraduate Scholarship

This Giving Tuesday consider donating to Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University, and make a difference in the lives of our students.

Support inspiring students who will make a difference in the world, like Marjorie Stern!