GI414      Half Unit
Gender and Social Policy: Theory and Practice

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Wendy Sigle COL5.01I


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Population and Development, MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy), MSc in Social Policy (Research) and MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students on the MSc in Gender Policy and Inequalities degree must take either GI414 OR GI417

Course content

This course aims to equip students with the knowledge and theoretical tools that will allow them to critically engage with social policy issues and debates.  It begins with an overview of theoretical explanations for the structure and evolution of social policies in a wide range of settings. Feminist perspectives on welfare are explored, while notions of justice, citizenship and inequality are applied as analytic tools to critically examine real world social policy issues such as micro-credit, conditional cash transfers (CCT), and the parental leave policies. The use of gender as a category of analysis is examined and attention is paid to the potentially modifying effects of categories such as race and class. Policy-making and political institutions are analysed, in part, to illustrate how assumptions (or aspirations) about gender roles and the form, function and responsibilities of the family are reflected in the framing, design, and evaluation of policies. The course also explores the gendered impact of economic on labour market opportunities and inequalities in access to economic resources.


30 hours of workshops in the MT. 3 hours of workshops in the ST.

Formative coursework

Group work: students will be asked to produce one handout outlining their response to an essay question and to present and explain the response to the class in the MT.

Independent work: students will be asked to produce an essay (1500 words) in the MT.  The essay should be uploaded to Moodle and include a self assessment coversheet.

Indicative reading

C L Bacchi, Analysing Policy: What's the Problem Represented to Be?, 2009; M Daly, Welfare, 2011; M Daly & K Rake, Gender and the Welfare State: Care, Work, and Welfare in Europe, 2003; N Folbre, Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family, 2008; J Hearn, E H Oleksy & D Golanska, The Limits of Gendered Citizenship: Contexts and Contradictions, 2010. M R A Lister, F Anttonen, A Bussemaker, and J Gerhard, Gendering Citizenship in Western Europe, Policy Press, 2007; R Mahon and F Robinson (Eds), The Global Political Economy of Care: Integrating Ethics and Social Politics, 2011; M Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, 2011; E Ruspini, J Hearn, B Pease, and K Pringle (Eds), Men and Masculinities Around the World: Transforming Men's Practices, 2011.


Essay (50%, 2500 words) in the LT.
Project (50%, 3000 words) in the ST.

The project will be in the form of a take home exam.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 2.7
Merit 60.3
Pass 37
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Gender Institute

Total students 2014/15: 24

Average class size 2014/15: 24

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 78.1%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)