How to Write a Definition Essay in Women and Gender Studies

Writing guide
Posted on February 4, 2021

You are assigned to write a definition essay in women and gender studies and have no idea of how to approach it? Writing a good definition essay can be tricky but there are some effective strategies you can follow that will help you organize your work more efficiently. That’s why we have created this easy writing guide where you can find all the necessary information about this challenging type of academic papers. Keep reading to get a better idea about the specifics of defining a word in an engaging manner. If you find it hard to complete any other types of academic papers, feel free to check out other full guides to all writing assignments out there.

What Is a Definition Essay in Women and Gender Studies?

Definition essay is a specific type of academic papers where you need to define a specific word – a concept, idea, term or a theory in your own words. This definition should be lengthy and clarify the meaning of the chosen concept. You may start with a simple dictionary definition and then extend it to ensure that you explain concept or idea and that its meaning is absolutely clear to your readers. You may extend the definition in a number of ways, for example, include details, examples, personal experiences, analysis, description, causes, and effects etc.

The primary goal of a definition essay is to define and explain something. The main thing is that you should demonstrate your personal opinion about the concept or idea. That’s why all definition essays are subjective and you need to find evidence and support your opinions. Typically, any definition essay in women and gender studies consists of two different parts.

  • Connotation explains what the idea or concept implies or includes.

Besides, there are some techniques that are often used when writing a definition essay.

  • Enumeration when you use a list to define something
  • Negation when we define a concept or idea why explaining what it is not
  • Analogy when we compare two similar things

Choose a Good Topic for Your Definition Essay in Women and Gender Studies

First of all, you need to pick the right term, concept or idea related to this field of knowledge. Women and gender studies is a complex interdisciplinary field that is based on a variety of concepts and theories so you should use brainstorming techniques to come up with a good idea for your definition essay.

It’s better to select a term or a concept that is familiar to you. All definition essays are typically very subjective in nature and you need to define the word from your personal perspective. It will be easier for you to cope with this task if you can rely on your personal knowledge base. Besides, you should select a complex abstract word that will give you much to write about. And make sure you’ve chosen a disputable word that has a different meaning for different people.

If you have no idea of what to write about in your definition essay in women and gender studies, take a look at this short list of interesting topic ideas and feel free to use them for writing your own essays.

  • What Does It Mean to Be Chicana?
  • Define the Male Gaze Theory;
  • Explain the Meaning of Gender Neutral Pronouns and Inclusive Language;
  • Define Gender Equity, Gender Equality, and Women’s Empowerment;
  • What Does It Mean to Be Cisgender?
  • What Are the Characteristics of a Patriarchy?
  • What Is the Glass Ceiling Effect?
  • Heteronormativity: Definition and Concept;
  • Define Sex and Gender and Explain Differences in Their Meanings;
  • Sex (Gender) Discrimination and Harassment;
  • How is Gender Related to Culture?
  • Women’s Rights in the Middle East;
  • Explain the Gender Pay Gap;
  • Define Gender Roles in the Classroom;
  • What Is a Conversion Therapy?
  • What Is Intersectionality in Feminism?

Elements You Can Use to Write an Effective Definition

When writing your own definition, you should think about the ways to make it more compelling for your audience. To achieve that goal, you should include different elements.

  • For example, you can divide your word into different parts and analyze each part in a separate paragraph. You can use this approach to provide analysis if you need to define a complex word which consists of several parts, for example, intersectionality or heteronormativity.
  • Another approach is to use a standard dictionary definition and classify the word by explaining to which part of speech it belongs.
  • If you have to give a definition of an unfamiliar concept, you can compare it with some concepts that you already know and try to explain the meaning of unknown concepts using the familiar words.
  • You can also enhance the definition by providing examples to illustrate the meaning of the term or by providing some traditional details.

Create an Outline of Your Definition Essay in Women and Gender Studies

When making an outline for your definition essay in women and gender studies, you should use the traditional basic 5-paragraph essay pattern. The structure of your definition essay should include an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. When creating an outline, you should think about the criteria that are necessary and sufficient for defining the concept. When planning your definition essay, you should keep in mind that your goal is to write an extended definition of the concept or term that may differ from the standard explanation provided in a dictionary. Besides, you should be ready that not all people will agree with your definition so you’ll need to think about providing reasons and relevant evidence to support your point of view.

Write a Draft of Your Definition Essay

Organize the content in your essay from general to specific structure. When writing your definition essay, it’s important to ensure that all parts of your definition related together and created a whole. So you should make the outline of your definition essay and encourage yourself to use it as road map. Now let’s discuss how to write different parts of your essay in detail.


Start your definition essay in women and gender studies with an engaging introduction. It’s important to grab your audience’s attention and make them read your text further. Besides, you need to set focus and the background for your topic and tell about the purpose of your paper. Here is what you should do to get your introduction right.

  • Begin the introductory paragraph with a hook. It may be an anecdote, a surprising fact, interesting statistics, a provocative or rhetorical question.
  • Provide some background information to set the context.
  • Give a standard definition of the term from a good dictionary.
  • Finish this paragraph with your own definition of the word which can serve as a thesis statement. Define the concept in your own words and try to make your definition brief and basic.

Keep in mind that you should include only relevant information in this part of your essay and try to avoid clichés.

Main Body Paragraphs

In the body, you need to extend the definition of the concept, using different techniques that we have discussed earlier. You should also keep your audience in mind and take into account what your readers know about the term you are defining. There is no single rule that determines the length of each paragraph but typically, they consist of 6-7 sentences.
You can develop an argument in the body paragraphs in some of the following ways:

  • Provide the background and speak about the history of the term or idea;
  • Illustrate by providing specific information about the word you are defining;
  • Use good examples to illustrate the main points of your paragraphs;
  • Compare and contrast and show similarities and differences of the term with other concepts;
  • Analyze the word by dividing it in parts and give definitions of each part.

Make sure that each of your body paragraphs has a proper structure.

  • Start every paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main point
  • Write several supporting sentences that explain the topic sentence
  • Give evidence and examples to support the main point
  • Analyze and interpret your evidence and explain how it relates to the main point of the paragraph.
  • Finish the paragraph with a concluding sentence that summarizes its content and includes a transition to the next paragraph.

Don’t forget to use transition words and phrases between the paragraphs and within them, for example, as a result, therefore, consequently, first, then, after, next, previously, moreover, finally, furthermore, in addition, specifically, finally, etc. Relevant transitions make it easier for your audience to see connections between your ideas and follow your logic.


An essay conclusion gives you the last chance to impress your readers so you should make an effort and create a strong final paragraph. Your goal here is not just remind your readers about the information that you have presented in the body of your definition essay in women and gender studies and summarize everything. You may look at the topic sentences in the body and sum up them. You should also synthesize everything and establish connections between your points and tie them together. Moreover, you should emphasize the importance of your personal definition and explain to your readers why they should care about it.

Revise, Edit, and Proofread the Draft of Your Definition Essay in Women and Gender Studies

When you finish your first draft, your work is not over. You have to put it aside for a while and then revise it several times to ensure that you are absolutely satisfied with its content, style, and logic.
Now you should edit and proofread your definition essay in women and gender studies. These are separate processes. When you edit your essay, you should pay attention to the structure and the flow of your sentences and paragraphs. When you proofread, your task is to look for minor issues like punctuation, spelling, and grammar errors and typos. Different people use different approaches when it comes to editing and proofreading but there are proven effective strategies that are sure to help work smarter and achieve better results. Here are some of them.

  • Start by taking a short break. Getting distance from your paper will allow you to look at your writing with fresh eyes and catch more errors.
  • Play the role of the reader. In this way, you will see your essay from your audience’s perspective.
  • Find out what types of mistakes you typically make and reread your essay looking for them (one type of error at a time). A good idea is to create your own proofreading checklist and refer to it. In this way, you can save more time.
  • Proofread with a ruler. Place a cover under each line of your essay as you read and move it down the page, line after line. This technique is very helpful in finding unnecessary words and mistakes in sentence structure.
  • Get feedback from the others. Ask your friends or family members to review your essay critically from a new perspective. They will provide you with insights that might otherwise missed.
  • Don’t rely completely on spelling and grammar checkers. Develop your own editing and proofreading strategies and always follow them to check your essays.
  • Review your essay in stages. Don’t try to fix all types of mistakes at once. That’s too much and you may lose focus and fail to spot a lot of mistakes.

You’d better experiment with all these strategies to decide which of them works best for you. But keep in mind that you should work slowly and not at the normal speed. This approach can help you spot more errors that you might have overlooked.

We’ve provided you with simple step-by-step instructions on how to write a definition essay in women and gender studies. Follow them and practice a lot and you’ll increase your chances to complete a powerful definition essay that will make a great impression on your instructor and get you a better grade.

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