Established in 1995, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) is the research umbrella that grew out of the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Michigan. Housed together in historic Lane Hall, this close proximity provides for a dynamic partnership, allowing for heightened awareness of the University of Michigan’s role in promoting women’s and gender studies. While Women’s Studies is an academic unit whose mandate is to prepare students for professional work and further academic engagement in the field of women and gender studies while supporting the research endeavors of its faculty, IRWG’s primary purpose is to facilitate scholarship and disseminate important findings to the academic and public communities.
IRWG partners with other units throughout the University and with universities around the world, bringing together diverse faculty, staff and graduate students who are examining the experiences of women and issues of gender. It supports scholarship, program areas, and research studies that explore the impact of culture, ethnicity, social class, economics, history, sexuality, education and health on women’s and men’s lives. IRWG and Women’s Studies often collaborate in organizing a variety of informative events such as conferences, lectures, and discussion groups, as well as artistic exhibits that communicate the importance and relevance of women’s and gender studies in the past, present and future.
While IRWG serves as the organizational clearinghouse for ongoing U-M research programs that focus on similarities and differences between women and men, it shares a similar mission with Women’s Studies in encouraging education and mentoring between faculty, students and staff from a variety of different disciplines.