GI415      Half Unit
Gender and European Welfare States

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ania Plomien, Tower 1.11.01F


This course is available on the MPA in European Policy-Making, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy), MSc in Social Policy (Research), MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning), MSc in Social Research Methods, MSc in Women, Peace and Security and Master of Public Administration. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course investigates the different ways in which gender is incorporated into national welfare states and the impact of national structures on the patterns and prevalences of gender inequalities. The course covers the theory and methodology of comparative studies and their applicability to the analysis of gender, especially how well existing typologies of welfare states fare when gender is the focus of analysis, and analyses the role of the European Union in the development of gendered policies and outcomes in EU countries. A number of key patterns of inequality and policy areas will be studied, including: the organisation of caring services; migration; family policy; provisions for lone parents; the labour market and labour market policies; the practices and roles of men, especially regarding fatherhood; and fertility and aging. In looking at these areas students will be encouraged to contrast approaches of different welfare systems and  consider the particularism of national approaches.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

There will be a reading week in week 6 in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will be asked to prepare seminar facilitation activities in group work and submit an essay (2000 words) due in the LT.


Indicative reading

  • G. Abels and J. M. Mushaben (2012) Gendering the European Union.
  • K.M. Anderson, (2015) Social Policy in the European Union.
  • R. Crompton et al. (2007) Women, Men, Work and Family in Europe.
  • H. M. Dahl et al. (eds) (2011) Europeanization, Care and Gender: Global Complexities.
  • M. Daly and K. Rake, (2003) Gender and the Welfare State.
  • G. Esping-Andersen (2009) The Incomplete Revolution: Adapting to Women’s New Roles.
  • J. Gornick and M. Meyers (2003) Families that Work.
  • J. Kantola (2010) Gender and the European Union.
  • R. Lister (2003) Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives, 2nd ed.
  • J. Lewis (2009) Work-Family Balance, Gender and Policy.


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19.7
Merit 52.5
Pass 26.2
Fail 1.6

Teachers' comment

For the last few years the course has been taught in a 3-hour block split into an interactive lecture and a student-led seminar. This facilitates learning among students with various levels of knowledge of European Social Policy, Welfare State Scholarship, and Gender Theory and allows combining multiple perspectives. As confirmed by the external examiner, the course addresses ‘a range of important and topical policy issues in Europe’ and the quality of student work ‘is very good and demonstrates a high level of engagement’.

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2016/17: 23

Average class size 2016/17: 24

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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