Having developed a strong interest in gender-related issues in her childhood, Lisa Grooteman came to the Gender Studies programme following an undergraduate degree in Arts and Economics. She also had considerable international work experience, such as internships and an international youth project which focused on reducing unemployment amongst girls.
These experiences inspired her to be active in achieving equal rights and opportunities for women. The Gender Studies master’s programme offered schooling in relevant practical tools and techniques for driving change, as well as a deeper theoretical knowledge.
As a scholarship recipient, Lisa immigrated to Sweden although the programme was on-line. She wanted to enjoy the benefits of studying abroad. This provided her with a rich inter-cultural experience, which was furthered by the flexibility of the distance-learning programme; travel and international fieldwork became possible. Lisa does however say that it’s important to remember that the courses still are a full-time workload
The face-to-face weeks were Lisa's favourite part of the programme, because it created an environment in which students could share and receive in-depth, respectful feedback on personal issues. It also meant an opportunity to be creative and gain new perspectives from each other’s experiences. Lisa and her former classmates still keep in touch on Facebook and share articles, vacancies and thoughts.
Her master’s degree enabled Lisa to secure an internship at the Netherlands Embassy in Bangladesh, where she worked in the Department for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender. Questions stemming from this work inspired her to pursue further studies in ethics.
“In the long term I want to work in an international setting, towards the goal that every person has the same rights and opportunities regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, ability, race, and other attributes.”
It is not only for professional reasons that Lisa recommends Gender Studies, but also for personal ones. One of the most significant lessons from her studies concerns self-awareness; people need to be aware of their own positions on issues and in debates, and to recognise and respect the positions of others without attempting to speak for them.
The programme also teaches critical thinking and to question norms. This is significant for a range of future careers, whether directly connected to gender or not. Learning to do so is a challenge that Lisa encourages all potential students to pursue: