GI414      Half Unit
Theorising Gender and Social Policy

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Wendy Sigle PAN 11.01J


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities. This course is available on the 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 (Sexuality) and MSc in Inequalities and Social Science. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course aims to equip students with an understanding of how feminist scholars use theoretical and analytic concepts to engage with social policy issues and debates.  The course provides an overview of mainstream theoretical explanations for the structure and evolution of welfare states, and feminist critiques and modifications of that literature.  Students will develop an understanding of how key concepts like citizenship,  work, and well-being have been conceptualized and applied in the academic literature to document and explain gendered inequalities. The use of gender as a category of analysis is examined and attention is paid to the potentially modifying effects of other social hierarchies such as race and class.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

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

Formative coursework

Group work: Students will be asked to work as part of a group to discuss papers and to complete assignments (presentations, assessments of papers, answers to questions) in preparation for seminars. 

Students are asked to submit a 1,500 formative exercise which should  include a self-assessment form attached as a coversheet during MT.


Indicative reading

C L Bacchi, Analysing Policy: the Problem Represented to Be?, 2009; 

Ferree, M. M., Khan, S. &  and Morimoto, S.A., (2007). Assessing the Feminist Revolution: The Presence and Absence of Gender in Theory and Practice. Pp. 354–84 in Sociology in America: The American Sociological Association Centennial History, edited by Craig Calhoun. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

O'Connor, J. S. (2013). Gender, citizenship and welfare state regimes in the early twenty-first century:'incomplete revolution'and/or gender equality'lost in translation'. A Handbook of Comparative Social Policy.

Risman, B. J., & Davis, G. (2013). From sex roles to gender structure. Current Sociology, 61(5–6), 733–755.

Chappell, L. and Waylen, G. (2013) Gender and the hidden life of institutions. Public Administration 91: 599-615.D Beland and R



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

The production of a final 4000 word report (due in ST: 90% of the final mark) with milestones including a progress report (due the last week of MT), a first draft (due in LT), and 1000 word peer review report (due in LT).  The content of the peer review is assessed and contributes 10% of the final mark.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.9
Merit 47.6
Pass 31
Fail 3.6

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2018/19: 18

Average class size 2018/19: 9

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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