Sisterhood and Feminism


Sisterhood and Feminism is a course developed by Women’s Studies students at The University of Rochester for the residents of Sojourner House. Sisterhood is an elective course at Sojourner House, available through the Henrietta Hammond Institute for Life Skills (HHILS). Download the HHILS Principles here (PDF). Visit the HHILS website to learn more about their program and classes.

Sisterhood is a way to bring popular topics from Gender and Women’s Studies classes into the lives of Rochester community members. Taught with a consciousness-raising model, this course provides an opportunity for women to delve into topics of gender and sisterhood. By evaluating their own lives and perceptions of women, students in Sisterhood learn about sexism in modern American society. In this course, women learn about the ways that sexism often goes unrecognized, as well as their own internalized sexism.

For the instructors, Sisterhood can be a truly rewarding and educational experience. Through this course, Women’s Studies students explore topics of gender and sisterhood with women who are struggling to get back on their feet. Coming from diverse backgrounds, these women often change the instructors’ minds about social relations in America. This is why the founding instructors found the consciousness-raising model to be so successful. Additionally, this course is an opportunity for topics in Gender and Women’s Studies to move beyond the restrictions of academia. By becoming available to less privileged women, the curriculum of Women’s Studies courses can affect the political consciousness of a more diverse group of women.


The consciousness-raising model operates under the assumption that students and instructors can learn together from each other’s experiences and opinions. By focusing on the lives of the women in the course and their understanding of gender relations, both students and instructors grow. For this to happen, everyone must enter the course with an open-mind and a willingness to question and learn.

Sojourner House

Sojourner House provides transitional housing for women, many with children, who are committed to overcoming the challenges of homelessness, addiction, and abuse and rebuilding their lives. Here the women and their children begin their journey toward lasting stability and independence in a structured, nurturing environment. Visit the Sojourner House Website to learn more about their housing and outreach services, programs, and history.

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