A dailywire article quoting an "hungarian political magazine" article writes:

...Hungary, as the country’s government has decided to remove gender studies programs from state-run universities.

A government official said the programs are based on “ideology rather than science,” and should not be taught in higher education...

I am not sure if there consensus on what "gender studies" and what "science" is? AFAIK scientific research has to follow certain principles like falsifiability, repeatability, peer review or logical deduction from theories that themselves were based on these principles.

Taking this into account, does gender studies qualify for being called a science?

  • 2
    Welcome to Skeptics! This question is about the definitions of words, and not about anything empirical. Wikipedia defines it as "a field for interdisciplinary study". If you accept Wikipedia's definition, then no-one is claiming it is a science. If you define "science" and "gender studies" differently, you might get that it is a science, but that doesn't tell us about anything but how you define words.
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 6, 2018 at 2:31
  • FWIW dailywire is incorrect, the program has been removed from private universities as well (or to be more precise the accreditation of all gender studies programs was revoked).
    – Tgr
    Nov 6, 2018 at 5:56
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    Pushing a comment from @Tgr below elliot's answer up here for visibility: Note that the Hungarian word for "science" would probably be better translated as "academic discipline". -- Also consider that the disciplines that gender studies as "field for interdisciplinary study" touches include but are not limited to psychology, social science, and biology.
    – DevSolar
    Nov 6, 2018 at 8:46
  • Lots of comments arguing in circles deleted. I am not sure why we this is still getting attention. We all seem to agree the answer depends on definitions of "science" and "gender studies", and that both words are ill-defined, which makes the question entirely about preferred definitions rather than facts. Let's move on.
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 12, 2018 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


According to the University of California, Berkeley website:

The field of gender and women’s studies emerged from the contemporary feminist movement with the initial goal of bringing women and their experiences more fully into knowledge. The Berkeley Women’s Studies Program was founded in 1976, bringing scholars from many different disciplines together to introduce the subject of women into serious academic inquiry. Our courses have long considered the position of women throughout history, across the world, and in different economic, ethnic and racial groups.


As we have expanded the content of the traditional curriculum, we have re-evaluated methods and models as they have succeeded or failed to include the experiences of women and the dynamics of gender. We have adapted the ideas and research methods of a wide range of academic disciplines, and we have produced our own body of feminist theory and strategies for engaging in transdisciplinary research and teaching.


Students learn to apply the methods and theories of social scientists, historians, literary critics, etc., to the study of gender.


Clearly, Gender Studies may include science, but it is also inclusive of history and literature. Therefore I think it's fair to say that Gender Studies includes science, but is not limited to science.

The summary page finishes with this sentence:

[Students] explore a growing body of feminist theory that revises our understanding of gender, society and culture.


From another part of UC Berkeley's website on the Gender and Women's Studies Department:

Community-Engaged Scholarship

The Gender and Women's Studies Department promotes engaged scholarship through our unique internship courses. Students commit to working with a community-based organization for a minimum of three hours a week for the semester. The hope and challenge of these courses is to go beyond standard educational models in which learning is bound by the classroom and confined to the University. This effort to bridge the gap between the University — as a place of study — and community organizations — as agents of action, grows from the urgent need for opportunities to engage in a coordinated exploration where theory and action inform each other.


Graduate Program

The department does not currently offer a graduate program. A Designated Emphasis (DE) in Women, Gender, and Sexuality is offered by the Graduate Group in Women, Gender, and Sexuality.


  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 9, 2018 at 10:12
  • Please avoid sharing what you think of Berkeley or gender studies in comments. The OP is merely looking at the definition of the studies for which this university is clearly renowned for. This is indisputably what GS are meant to be. Whether they actually achieve that rigor is another matter, but this answer is useful as is.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 9, 2018 at 10:16
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    @sklivvz I know you're doing your job as mod, but you've removed real criticism of the answer. For example, my first comment says basically, "I don't see what you see in these Berkeley quotes". There's also been the serious charge that this source is utterly biased. Using Berkeley GS department literature to argue in favor of GS legitimacy is ludicrously fallacious. Such comments should remain unless the OP addresses them. Nuking them all might be convenient, but it's a disservice to the site and users.
    – user11643
    Nov 10, 2018 at 2:34
  • @fredsbend I know, but in these cases I'd rather not cherry pick the comments to leave, if anyone is interested, they are still in the chat linked above, I encourage everyone to read them :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 10, 2018 at 14:06
  • I've nuked a rant against the mods. Further rants and political discussions will be mercilessly deleted without notice. If you are unhappy about us, feel free to complain to Stack Exchange or take it to meta -- there will be people who listen over there, but not here.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 10, 2018 at 14:07

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