A Heady, Wonderful Feeling

Jean Humez


1970-1979, 1980-1989

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Jean Humez shared her story for WUMB's UMass Boston Minute.

"Those of us who were involved in the women’s studies movement saw ourselves as doing activism through our professions, which was a really heady, wonderful feeling."

In 1975, Jean Humez became the first faculty member of the UMass Boston Women’s Studies program, one of the first programs of its kind in New England. The creation of an academic home for Women’s Studies was part of a wider campus women’s movement, led by students and faculty, that also sought equal pay for women, and childcare for working mothers.

"Students had a really important, obvious impact. We were inventing things as we went along, and that was part of the excitement of it - both from the point of view of the teachers, and I think also from the point of view of the students."

In 1982, Humez became one of the first professors in the nation to receive tenure in a Women’s Studies program. The Women’s Studies department has expanded greatly in the last 30 years, and recently changed its title to include gender studies.

"I think many people still retain a kind of 60’s and 70’s identity at their core even if they’re older. And the values that UMass Boston was founded on, and some of the early programs were founded on."