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New Zealand

Women's/Gender Studies remain a part of the curriculum in all but one of the major universities in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Their existence is the outcome of growing awareness of the lack of women's interests in the curriculum in the 1970s that led to the introduction of courses (papers) in the 1980s, and which eventually set up WS/GS majors, degrees, departments and programmes nationwide in the later part of the 1980s onto the 1990s. Recurrently, the growth and expansion of WS/GS in Aotearoa/New Zealand owes largely to the contributions of committed individuals.

Rosemary Seymour pioneered the development of WS offerings in Aotearoa/New Zealand by offering the first course at Waikato University in 1974. Other universities soon followed suit. Majors and post-graduate degrees were added through the late 1980s and early 1990s with enrollments at most institutions reaching a peak in the mid- to late-1990s. Waikato University appointed Anne Yeatman as its foundational Professor in 1992 with the University of Auckland establishing its Chair of Women's Studies in 1995. Despite the expansion of WS/GS in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the mid-1990s saw a new funding regime established, based on a market model of equivalent full-time student enrolments, leading to a re-structuring and general downsizing of universities. As a result, only one independent WS/GS centre currently exists at the University of Auckland and it, too, is under threat. Efforts to rev up the marketability of Women's Studies at institutions throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand has led to several name changes from ‘Women's Studies' instead of ‘Gender Studies.'

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