Centre for Gender Studies

Student Profiles

Gender Studies students come from a variety of different social and cultural backgrounds and from all over the world. Below four of our previous students share what they found valuable and rewarding about studying gender.

Habon Abdulle, PhD Gender Studies

Habon Abdulle 1

I am originally from Somalia and I have always been interested in issues regarding gender equality. I opted to do postgraduate study in Gender Studies as it will allow me to further my commitment to empower women and also enable me to contribute to the new areas of knowledge within Somali Gender Studies.

I decided that the University of Sussex was an ideal place to do my PhD as it is a world-class research university; equipped with highly skilled educators who will give me the necessary tools in interdisciplinary study. The University is also known for its friendly and collaborative environment.

My research involves the connections between diaspora, feminism, politics and gender studies.  My motivation in seeking this advanced degree is my desire to be a catalyst for Somali diaspora women’s entry into the political arena. After completing my PhD, my eventual goal is to start a Center for Somali Women’s Studies where I can conduct research and teach. Studying at the University of Sussex will enable me to become a competent researcher and a proficient teacher.

I work in Minnesota, USA and I am enrolled at Sussex as a distance learning student. Last year while I was in Brighton I met with my supervisors several times. They provided me with valuable insights, aimed at developing my potential to become an independent researcher. Since then this effective supervision and mentorship have continued and I enjoy the opportunity to work with such conscientious, thorough and reliable supervisors.

The University of Sussex is an extraordinarily competitive university for pursuing PhD studies in Gender Studies and I am very happy with my decision to study here. If you are looking for a Gender Studies program that addresses the current social, economic, political, professional and policy debates around gender discourses, and which also explores how gender impacts identities in national and global cultures, the University of Sussex is the place to be.

Isabel Young, MA Gender Studies

Isabel Young

I was first drawn to Sussex when I read the prospectus – I felt it really stood out against other universities. I also knew it had an excellent reputation for Sociology and that the department was amongst the top five in the country. What really swayed me though was when I came to visit, it had a great atmosphere, and in a way, I feel like Sussex picked me. It was because I enjoyed my university experience here so much that I decided to stay on for my Masters.

Brighton is such an amazing location to be student as there are so many opportunities on offer. When I’m not studying I volunteer at the local rape crisis centre, which has given me invaluable experience and training, and has positively influenced how I interact with people in my daily life.

Sussex has a really active union and there is loads to get involved with on campus. I am currently Co-Chair of the Women’s Society, which meets every week to discuss women’s issues and has also held campus wide events for International Women’s Day and violence against women awareness week.

On top of my Masters, I am also in paid employment working as a Study Support Worker for Brighton and Hove City Council, which involves running after-school homework clubs across the city. I have also made the most of employment opportunities on campus, and work in Sussex Innovation Centre with several other students for an online training company.

What makes Gender Studies at Sussex stand apart is that you are encouraged to develop a critical outlook on society. I would say this is a result of the university’s politicised history, the quality of teaching and the alternative nature of our student body.

Thinking to the future, I want to develop my passion for women’s issues and utilise what I have learnt during my MA in Gender Studies, BA in Sociology and extra-curricular activities.

Whatever I decide to do, I know that Sussex has given me the confidence, moral social standing and academic credentials to succeed.

Megan Read, MA Gender Studies

Megan Read

I studied my bachelor’s degree in Journalism and English, during which I took several Gender Studies courses. I became fascinated with the topic and I thought combining my experience and love for Journalism with Gender Studies would be a great combination, so I pursued the MA in Gender and Media studies at the University of Sussex. 

I like how welcoming it is for international students and my experience at Sussex was very positive because I had a great deal of support from my course mates, my professors, and university staff. 

I realised I wanted to teach public secondary school in the United States when I saw how important positive role models are for our young men and women. After receiving my MA in gender and media studies from Sussex, I decided to transfer my knowledge of gender equality to the classroom.

My favourite memory of studying at Sussex is all of the interesting people I met from around the world studying gender studies, international relations, and other interesting subjects and I was able to gain a wider perspective of the world from interacting with them. It enabled me to critically think of gender studies from an international perspective and I have been able to transfer this to my job to show my students gender issues that are still present in today’s society. By reading about important world issues and events in our journalism classes, my students can discuss gender issues, like female oppression in the Middle East, for example, and gain new perspectives on the world. 

Tom Chadwick, BA Politics and Sociology with a focus on Gender

Tom Chadwick

I arrived at Sussex with many typical misconceptions about Gender Studies but quickly found it to be an important and exciting subject. I was particularly attracted to the multidisciplinary approach to studying: critically combining the political, sociological, philosophical and empirical in ways that open up new and insightful views of the world.

I found two aspects of the course particularly positive. Firstly, when discussing topics and examining the popular narratives surrounding them a great deal of emphasis is put upon asking which voices are not being represented: who is not speaking and why? What might they be saying if we took time to listen? In this way, new and important angles on old issues often emerge, continuously challenging and reassessing my own ideas and experiences. Secondly, I have particularly enjoyed the intersectional approach taken in Gender Studies, in which different issues are discussed in relation to one another. For example, looking at abortion from different disabled and gendered perspectives, masculinities from different class perspectives, or sexual violence from the perspectives of different racially marginalised groups. This approach has allowed me to identify some of the wider, often highly damaging, implications present within popular discourses on contemporary issues and has given me the knowledge and confidence to critically engage with them.

The Gender Studies courses offered the most supportive and challenging teaching of my degree.  The tutors are passionate about the topics and also mindful of the fact they often cover sensitive personal issues. A great deal of effort is made to ensure that discussions are respectful and considerate whilst still open and challenging.

My experience of studying here has been brilliant. I never expected the academic side of university to be so exciting, but thanks to the tutors I’ve encountered and the friends I’ve made through Gender Studies, it has been.