Juanita Johnson-Bailey, director of the Institute for Women’s Studies and a lifelong education, administration, and policy professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, was recently quoted in a Diverse: Issues in Higher Education article about women studies scholars and the threat of being cut during tightening budgets.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing budgets to tighten, women’s studies scholars are worried about their programs being cut. Still, anxiety about the permanency of women’s studies programs isn’t new, Johnson-Bailey said. She’s confident these programs will continue to exemplify their worth to campus communities.
Although the Institute for Women’s Studies has existed for over 40 years and funding for the institute appears to be rather secure, when it comes to women’s studies generally, “we’ve always had to sing for our supper,” Johnson-Bailey said.
“So many people question the legitimacy of programs like ours, and this is something that has been ongoing, that we always have to justify our existence,” she said.
Johnson-Baily continued to detail the issue.
“Although we have been faced with budget cuts, we’ve always been able to stand our ground and defend our existence because of how much we have done and how much we contribute to the university community,” she said.
The article also mentioned Johnson-Bailey’s goal of giving students a diverse women’s studies education.
She wants students to get the same feeling she had when she went to her first women’s studies class that “this is home. This is my heart. This is where I want all of my scholarship to be.”