Mason professor says that society is moving toward a more fluid and inclusive understanding of gender

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David Powers Corwin. Photo by Creative Services

George Mason University faculty member David Powers Corwin answers questions about Women’s History Month, feminism and gender justice. 

Corwin holds a joint faculty appointment in the School of Integrative Studies and Women and Gender Studies where they teach courses that focus on feminist and queer theory, gender and sexuality in popular culture, friendship studies and ecofeminism.

Why is March Women’s History Month? What are we supposed to be celebrating and why?

International Women’s Day takes place during Women’s History Month, which is one reason for the choice. We are celebrating how women have contributed to all aspects of history, public dialogues, private spaces, and any profession, but have been left out of how we tell many stories. In reality, we don’t have a world, a month, a week, a day, or a second without women’s contributions.

How did the feminist movement contribute to the changing roles of women in this country?

The women’s movement called out the issues of inequality that women knew about for centuries but couldn’t act on. From access to proper health care to career opportunities to political representation to so many other issues, the women’s movement has made strides for women in virtually every type of public dialogue.

What have been the criticisms and limitations of the feminist movement in this country?

The women’s movement has continued to be critiqued for lack of inclusion of people of color, queer and transwomen, along with women with varying abilities, body types, and national identities. While intersectional activists and scholars continue to bring these issues to light and trailblaze paths forward, we still have to continue to redefine what feminism means in the 2020s in order to ensure we aren’t reinforcing some of the earlier, less inclusive feminisms.

How is the popular understanding of gender changing?

We are continuing to move toward a more fluid and inclusive understanding of gender that doesn’t only focus on cisgender women or men, but people of all genders both in and outside the binary. Women’s History Month programs certainly have something to offer all people regardless of gender.

What does gender justice mean and what does that look like? 

Gender justice fights against the systems of oppression that force people of particular genders into subjugated positions by using an intersectional lens that refocuses activist efforts to be inclusive of race, class, sexuality, ability, national identity, etc. It’s on all of us to fight for gender justice and to continue an educational journey that fights against and doesn’t reinforce these systems in our places of influence.

Reach David Powers Corwin at

For more information, reach Anna Stolley Persky at

About George Mason

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 39,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. In 2022, Mason celebrates 50 years as an independent institution. Learn more at