Stephanie Rytilahti

Position title: Director of UW System Women's and Gender Studies Consortium


Phone: (608) 262-3056

3304 Sterling Hall

Stephanie Rytilahti headshot


Experienced feminist leader with a demonstrated history of advancing the field of Gender and Women’s Studies across the University of Wisconsin System.  Skilled in event planning, financial oversight, operational logistics, project management, public relations, mentoring, fundraising, and institutional analysis.  An innovative and self-motivated professional fluent with the theoretical frameworks and practical applications of WGSS.


Stephanie Rytilahti (she/her) received an undergraduate degree in History and Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005.  After working in retail bank management and community engagement, she began graduate school, earning a Master’s in Gender and Women’s Studies from UW-Madison in 2010, and a Ph.D. in History and certificate in Women’s Studies from Duke University in 2018.   Her research interests focus on U.S. social justice movements and cross-movement solidarities, the history of gender and sexuality, the historical development of Gender and Queer Studies as academic disciplines, and the contemporary forces animating field formation in higher ed.  Her current writing and research highlight the role of intersectionality in diversity and inclusion work within higher ed, the disparate impacts of COVID on caregivers, and the maintenance of robust Gender and Women’s Studies programs against a larger backdrop of budget cuts and the systematic dismantling of equity-driven programs formed in the 1970s and 1980s.

Stephanie Rytilahti became the director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium in 2018.  As director, she facilitates the collaboration of research, pedagogical initiatives, and strategic planning of all gender and women’s studies programs and departments across the UW System.  She currently serves as the co-chair of a systemwide task force on caregiving, and also coordinates a monthly feminist leadership series, a decolonizing pedagogies workshop, and an annual Women’s and Gender Studies conference co-convened with the Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian.

The Director’s Office is housed in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.