Alumni & Friends

Building Inclusive, Equitable and Just Societies

The University of Toronto has one of the most distinguished programs in Women and Gender Studies in Canada. It was launched in 1971, when Professors Jill Ker Conway and Natalie Zemon Davis offered “Society and the Sexes in Early Modern Europe and the United States” and a collective of students, activists and scholars taught an interdisciplinary course on “Women in the Twentieth Century”, which was later titled “Women: Oppression and Liberation”. These two undergraduate courses were among the first in the field. Today, the Institute’s robust programs encompass undergraduate, M.A. and Ph.D. levels. This tremendous growth reflects both student demand and deep societal need for the quality of feminist analysis fostered here.

We are proud of the caliber and reputation of our programs, and the contributions our faculty, students and alumni are making to build inclusive, equitable and just societies.

Women and gender studies Since 1970

“Fifty years ago!!!! (Can it be?) my dear friend Ceta Ramkhalawansingh (@CetaR), serene of smile and steely of will, helped found Women and Gender Studies at @UofT. Now a scholarship is being started in her name.”

– Margaret Atwood on Twitter (@MargaretAtwood)

Read more scholarship stories.

Support and Community

Through named awards and initiatives, we honour our valued community members.

The Hammed Shahidian Legacy Initiative

The Women & Gender Studies Institute is the recipient of the Hammed Shahidian Legacy Initiative Fund.  This generous endowment is dedicated to both a Graduate Award and a Lecture Series in Women and Gender Studies.   The Lecture series will attract some of the world’s finest critical feminist scholars and provide a platform for graduate students to engage in debates and discussions on themes that are particularly relevant to the current condition of women internationally.

Visit the Hammed Shahidian Legacy website for more details.


Brianna O’Connor Hersey Scholarship

The Brianna O’Connor Hersey Scholarship at WGSI celebrates the life and intellectual commitments of Brianna Hersey, a brilliant PhD student in WGSI. It is awarded annually to a talented first year WGSI PhD student.

For more scholarships and to donate, click here.

The Janka Seydegart Scholarship in Feminist Studies

Janka Seydegart dedicated her life and work to social justice for women, and to the love, development and protection of children.  An alumna of the University of Toronto, she worked for many years as a social worker with the Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto and served as a Field Instructor for the Faculty of Social Work at the University in the 1960s and 70s.

The Janka Seydegart Scholarship in Feminist Studies was established in 1999.  The graduate scholarship alternates between the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women and Gender Studies (CWGS) and the Faculty of Social Work, and recognizes Janka’s interest in and commitment to lifelong learning.

The Vida Heydarian Gender Justice Award

Established by Keyvan Mahjoor, in memory of his late wife, The Vida Heydarian Gender Justice Award will help students in the M.A. or Collaborative M.A. Program who demonstrate financial need.  Preference is given to students who are committed to regional, international, and transnational community-based and social justice themes focused on the Middle East.

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