GI414      Half Unit
Theorising Gender and Social Policy

This information is for the 2023/24 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 MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender (Rights and Human Rights) and MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course will be limited to 30 places.

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.


This course runs in AT. 

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

Formative coursework

Group work: Each week, students work with a study group to discuss papers and to complete assignments (presentations, assessments of papers, answers to questions) in preparation for seminars. 

Students are expected to submit a 1,500 formative exercise and a self-assessment (attached as a coversheet) during AT.

Indicative reading

  • Bacchi, C. (2017). Policies as gendering practices: Re-viewing categorical distinctions. Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 38(1), 20-41.
  • Bletsas, A. and Beasley, C. (Eds) (2012). Engaging with Carol Bacchi : Strategic Interventions and Exchanges, Adelaide : The University of Adelaide Press.  
  • Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 1241-1299.
  • Hearn, J., & Hobson, B. (2020). Gender, state and citizenships: Challenges and dilemmas in feminist theorizing. In T. Janoski , C. de Leon, J. Misra, & I. W. Martin (Eds.), The New Handbook of Political Sociology, pp. 153-190).
  • Fraser, N. (2016) Contradictions of capital and care, New Left Review, 100, 99–117. 
  • Rai, S. M., Hoskyns, C., & Thomas, D. (2014). Depletion: The cost of social reproduction. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 16(1), 86-105.
  • Risman, B. J., & Davis, G. (2013). From sex roles to gender structure. Current Sociology, 61(5-6), 733-755.
  • Steidl, C. R., & Werum, R. (2019). If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail: Operationalization matters. Sociology Compass, 13, Article e12727.
  • Waylen, G. (2017). Gendering Institutional Change. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.


Project (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

The production of a final 3000 word report (due in ST: 90% of the final mark) with milestones including a progress report (due the last week of AT), a first draft (due in WT), and 500-1000 word peer review report (due in WT).  Participation (completion of all milestones) contributes 5% of the final mark and the peer review, which is assessed, contributes 5%.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 26
Merit 68.5
Pass 5.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2022/23: 42

Average class size 2022/23: 14

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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