Delving into gender studies

WHETHER or not we realise it, gender has a deep impact on how we experience the world around us, and carries major cultural implications. Sunita Soh (pix), provides an insight into her journey as a Gender Studies' student at Monash University Malaysia's School of Arts and Social Sciences.

After graduating from college, Soh couldn't help but feel pessimistic as it seemed as if every door was closed. Unsure of what her future held, she decided to take a year off to ponder and discover her true passion.

In that year, she had the opportunity to engage with truly admirable and self-aware people of different faiths and sexualities. They opened her eyes to a plethora of issues that she had previously never considered. She began to become more self-aware – of who she was as a woman, student, and as a Malaysian.

It was around that time she found her curiosity piqued by one particular major, Gender Studies. With this major, she saw an opportunity to delve deeper into how the world we live in shapes us and in turn, how we can work to shape the world around us into a safe and accepting place for all human beings.

The major is made up of nine units, each offering different ways of understanding how gender intersects with different aspects of our lives. Her understanding of current events and lived realities in other parts of the world grew immensely, not only through the reading and discussion of class materials, but also through interaction and discussion with her fellow classmates from all over the world.

"I ended up gaining much more than expected. I have been encouraged to confront my own pre-conceived beliefs, and to improve myself constantly through learning, compassion, patience and selflessness.
"I also learned the necessary ingredients for change, as well as the skills needed to execute this change", she said.