GI418      Half Unit
Feminist Economics and Policy: An Introduction

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ania Plomien (TWR.11.01F) and Prof Naila Kabeer (CON.7.13)


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 (Sexuality), MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities and MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations and Human Resource Management). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


The course is run by the Department of Gender Studies – an interdisciplinary department. 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, and vice versa, this course seeks to expose students interested in gender to the work of Feminist Economists.

An interest in gender issues is essential and 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 engage with the theoretical foundations and intellectual contributions of Feminist Economics and  to develop an analytical understandings of gender issues with respect to economic processes and policies operating at macro and micro levels. At the macro level, the course explores the implications of contemporary economic and financial governance from a gender perspective, the gender bias in macroeconomic analyses, and the gendered impact of austerity policies. At the micro level, the course analyses the gender dynamics of household and labour market inequalities, engages with the economic foundations and explanations 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 is contextualised, where possible, in relation to race, social class, sexuality and migrant status. Attention is also given to the way in which individual well-being is influenced by the level of development and transnational trade relations. Accordingly, the course seeks to bridge the macro-micro divide by drawing together the gendered critique of existing biases in economic thinking and to provide an analytical foundation for alternative approaches to policies that aim to contribute towards securing sustainable development and gender equal well-being.


13 hours and 30 minutes of lectures, 9 hours of seminars and 8 hours of workshops in the LT. 2 hours of workshops in the ST.

In certain weeks the lectures, seminars or workshops will be integrated.

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

Formative coursework

Essay (2000 words) in the LT.


Indicative reading

• Bargawi, H.,  Cozzi, G and  Himmelweit, R. (2017) Economics and Austerity in Europe   Gendered impacts and sustainable alternatives.

• Berik,G., Rodgers,Y. and Seguino S. (2011) Inequality, Development, and Growth.

• 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.

• Folbre, N. and Bittman, M. (2004) Family Time: The Social Organization of Care.

• Karamessini,M and Rubery, J. (2014) Women and Austerity The Economic Crisis and the Future for Gender Equality.

• Nelson, J. (2006) Economics for Humans.

• Nussbaum, M (2011) Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach.

• Pearson, R. (2013) Women, Work and Gender Justice in the Global Economy.

• 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 (70%, 2500 words) in the ST.
Presentation (30%) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 25.3
Merit 46.5
Pass 24.2
Fail 4

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 Studies

Total students 2017/18: 50

Average class size 2017/18: 26

Controlled access 2017/18: 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

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 85%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)