Women's Studies Internships Abroad

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A Guide to Women's Studies Internships Abroad

The field of women’s studies is valuable for both women and men to explore, to understand women’s contributions to society as a whole; but learning should not be limited to the classroom alone. Internships in women’s studies allow individuals to look beyond textbooks and academic journals to the real life women in our society. By interning abroad, individuals will develop a well rounded understanding of women’s issues on a global scale, as well as in a particular cultural setting. In order to truly understand the role of women in the world today, it is important to experience and live in multiple cultures, which is one of the goals of women’s studies internships abroad.

Why Intern Abroad in Women's Studies

Women make up more than half of the world's population, yet women are still highly underrepresented in leadership positions. Across the globe, women are lacking access to education and various other resources, which place a larger portion of women at a disadvantage in their respective societies. If you are passionate about advocating for women and dedicating your career to helping women earn the rights they deserve, then interning abroad will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need in order to fight for a more just society at home and around the world. 

Women’s studies internships abroad will also allow you to gain critical thinking skills and the necessary multicultural experience to better understand gender difference across societies. You will be able to explore the role gender plays on an international level, and how culture relates to gender attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Therefore, through internships abroad in women’s studies, you will be able to increase your ability to reflect on global issues affecting women in a more comprehensive manner and gain skills that will make you more valuable to prospective employers.

Locations

Most internships in women’s studies are held in more developed countries, not because these countries have reached the pinnacle of gender equality, but rather because they have gone through various stages of gender equality. More developed countries often have more solid foundations, goals, and plans for improving gender equality too. However, developing countries pose unique opportunities to truly see tangible differences being made during internship placements, making them all the more rewarding.

Although there are women and gender issues in every country around the world, South Africa is one country that is still facing a backlash of equality issues that has continued for many years. South Africa is attempting to move past their history of apartheid by creating a less prejudiced society. Therefore, there is an ongoing dialogue focused on educating individuals on class, race and gender concerns in South African society, making it an especially interesting place to intern abroad in women’s studies.

Throughout history, women in India have experienced many ups and downs in regards to their fight for social equality. It is said that in ancient times, men and women in India were considered equal, but this slowly deteriorated in medieval times, when women were exploited through cultural practices like polygamy. But, through various reforms and strong voices in society, Indian women did began to work toward gender equality again decades later. In 1917, Annie Besant became the first female president of the Indian National Congress, and in 1966 Indira Gandhi became the first female prime minister. Considering its colored yet accomplished history, India is a great place to intern abroad in women’s studies. Although there are notable accomplishments in women’s rights worth recognizing in India, there is still plenty more that needs to be done to reach social justice for women in India.

Known as the Capital of the European Union, Belgium is home to the European Parliament, European Commission, Council of the European Union, and the European Council. Those interested in developing skills needed to truly create change for women on a global scale and acting as a voice for those who are unable to speak for themselves, women’s studies internships in Belgium may be a great option. Interning abroad in a major government body, which is entirely possible in Belgium, is the perfect way to begin voicing issues and concerns surrounding women’s rights and learn how governments can work together to establish gender equality on a larger scale.

Women's Studies Internships Abroad

The field of women’s studies is not just about women. This field focuses on multiple layers of identity, and how disparities in gender treatment can affect access to health care and education as well as an individual’s social development, for example. Intersectionality is a key word in women’s studies, meaning the ways in which forms or systems of oppression and discrimination intersect to produce a particular individual’s social position. The type of women’s studies internship abroad you seek will most likely depend on which intersection interests you most, and how you would like to support and advocate for women’s rights and gender equality.

Governmental bodies around the world regularly accept interns who are interested in humanitarian initiatives or political issues. Through governmental internships focused on women’s studies, interns would be able to attend meetings and sessions surrounding gender issues and sit side by side with political leaders concerned with resolving gender inequality and issues related to women’s rights. Women’s studies internships based in governmental bodies typically requires some research tasks and report writing as well.

Through nongovernmental organizations (NGO), interns will be given a chance to empower women through advocacy, lobbying, and human rights work. As an NGO intern, interns will learn how NGOs operate and how specific NGOs function to meet humanitarian and developmental goals. NGO internships typically require interns to conduct fieldwork, write reports, promote programs in local communities, and help with organizational fundraising campaigns.

All individuals who want to intern abroad in women’s studies should be committed to recognizing the importance of equality in our world between women and men, and be interested in learning about both the issues that impede and the solutions needed to reach gender inequality in different parts of the world.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Although a career in women’s studies may not necessary require international internship experience, it is most certainly valuable for all professionals to be able to understand varying cultural viewpoints and social issues affecting women in societies around the world. Internships abroad in women’s studies will expose interns to multiple other fields, each with its own feminist perspective, such as politics, history, and psychology.

In order to successfully advocate for women’s rights and gender equality, individuals must first understand how other cultures view gender issues and the idea of gender equality. Internships in women’s studies will give interns the chance to expand your cross-cultural understanding immensely, as well as cross-cultural communication  skills, and gain insight into the lives of women in different parts of the world.

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