Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Second Advisor

Kelly Yordy

Third Advisor

Todd Ream

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to explore how women at a faith-based institution score on the Feminist Identity Development Scale, the perceptions and attitudes those women have toward their personal feminist identity development, and the factors in the college experience that may influence such attitudes. Feminist identity is the conception of feminism or of the self as feminist. This study explored the scores of freshmen and seniors on the Feminist Identity Development Scale (Bargad & Hyde, 1991) and considered open-ended reflections from seniors concerning their college experience. Findings included the following: (1) students’ perspectives are polarized concerning gender roles and equality; (2) attitudes toward feminism are influenced by society and culture; (3) feminist identity is influenced by students’ theological understandings; (4) community and friendships challenge or affirm feminist attitudes; and (5) feminist attitudes are influenced by perceived differences in conduct enforcement by gender. Implications include (1) consider institutional plans to foster women’s success; (2) incorporate on-campus dialogue on feminism and gender; and (3) reevaluate policies and policy enforcement.

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