GI418      Half Unit
Feminist Economics and Policy: An Introduction

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ania Plomien, Prof Diane Perrons and Prof Naila Kabeer.


This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations and Human Resource Management), MSc in Local Economic Development, MSc in Social Policy and Development and MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


The course is run by the Gender Institute – an interdisciplinary institute. One of the key objectives is to bring a multi-perspectival approach to understanding of economic processes. As economic processes have a profound influence on social life, gender relations and gender equality, this course seeks to expose students interested in gender to the work of Feminist Economists.

An undergraduate level course in economics would be an advantage.

Course content

Recent decades have seen the emergence of gender equality as a key policy concern and Feminist Economics as a sub discipline. The purpose of the course is to consider the provenance and key tenets of Feminist Economics and how these ideas have been used to provide analytical understandings of gender issues with respect to economic processes and policies operating at macro and micro levels. At the macro level the course will analyse the implications of contemporary economic and financial governance from a gender perspective. At the micro level the course will engage with the economic foundations and analyses of gender inequality within employment and within the household focusing on wage and productivity differences and the gender division between ‘productive’ and ‘reproductive’ work. Attention to gender as economically significant marker of identity will be paid in the context of,  intersectionality with other lines of difference, including race, social class, sexuality and migrant status. Individual well-being is also influenced by the level of development and transnational economic relations. Accordingly, the course aims to bridge the macro-micro divide by drawing together the gendered critique of existing biases in economic thinking and provide an analytical foundation for alternative approaches to policies that aim to contribute towards securing sustainable development and gender-equitable well-being.


15 hours of lectures, 15 hours of seminars and 6 hours of workshops in the LT. 2 hours of workshops in the ST.

The lectures and seminars will be integrated.

Formative coursework

Essay (2000 words) in the LT.


Indicative reading

  • Berik,G., Rodgers,Y. and Seguino S. (2011) Inequality, Development, and Growth.
  • Budlender, D., Elson, D.,Hewitt, R. and Mukhopadhyay, T. (2002) Gender Budgets Make Cents.
  • Ferber, M. and Nelson, J. (2003) Feminist Economics Today Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics.
  • Folbre, N. (2009) Greed, Lust and Gender: A History of Economic Ideas.
  • Grown, C. and Valodia, I. (eds) (2010) Taxation and Gender Equity.
  • Nelson, J. (2006) Economics for Humans.
  • Nussbaum, M (2011) Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach.
  • Pujol, M. (1992) Feminism and Anti-Feminism in Early Economic Thought.
  • Sen, A (2010) The Idea of Justice.
  • Staveren,I, Elson, D.,Grown, C and Cagatay, N (2007) The Feminist Economics of Trade.
  • Young, B., Bakker,I. and Elson, D. (2011) Questioning Financial Governance from a Feminist Perspective.


Essay (80%, 4000 words) in the ST.
Presentation (20%) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15
Merit 47.5
Pass 35
Fail 2.5

Teachers' comment

This course is team-taught and draws on a wide range of knowledge and expertise of relevance to feminist economics and policy. Course teachers, the assigned reading material, and students all represent a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds united in the aim to better understand and address socio-economic injustice. This is one of the reasons for the external examiner to describe GI418 as is a ‘heavy-weight’ course, and at the same time note that ‘students are clearly rising to the challenge’. To support student learning and performance, the teachers provide detailed and specific feedback, last year we have introduced a workshop on how to write an essay incorporating feminist economic analysis, and following students’ suggestions, the final student presentations have now been incorporated into summative assessment.

Key facts

Department: Gender Institute

Total students 2014/15: 26

Average class size 2014/15: 26

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2013/14 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 100%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


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Recommend (Q2.9)