Clark launched its Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) program in 1979. In spring 2006, the university approved the Women's and Gender Studies major. The program continues to offer a minor. The WGS major provides students with a solid foundation in women's studies and gender analysis, introduces them to a range of disciplinary approaches to women and gender, and helps them develop an area of specialization within the field. Courses stress the importance of social ideas and relationships, such as those shaped by gender, ethnicity, race, and class to better understand individual and collective experiences, past and present. The major requires a minor in another field (and encourages a double major) in order to reinforce connections with existing majors.
Clark's Women's and Gender Studies program is part of the Worcester Consortium in Women's Studies, comprised of seven institutions of higher education, each with their own faculty active in women's studies research and teaching.
Women from the Worcester region, including Lucy Stone, Abby Kelly Foster, Dorothea Dix and Clara Barton, have been important players in the struggle for human and women's rights. Worcester was home to the first (1850) and second (1851) National Women's Rights Conventions.