GV4L5      Half Unit
Politics, Gender, and Development

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Nirvikar Jassal


This course is available on the MSc in Political Science (Conflict Studies and Comparative Politics), MSc in Political Science (Global Politics), MSc in Political Science (Political Science and Political Economy), MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Public Policy and Administration and MSc in Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for all students that apply but that may not continue to be the case.

Priority will be given to students on the programmes listed above.


Familiarity with basic research design and introductory statistics is strongly recommended.

Course content

While political science scholarship on gender often focuses on disparities between men and women in terms of political participation, the way inequalities in other domains such as (a) health, (b) education, (c) criminal justice, and (d) the bureaucracy intersect with politics may sometimes be overlooked. This course provides a survey of empirical social science research on gender over the past 20-years primarily from the disciplines of development economics and political science. The scholarship covers a wide range of countries, including those in the Global South. Some of the topics that the course will cover include: how does the representation of women in political institutions affect development? Are there any state policies that can serve to reduce gender-based violence or improve women’s access to property rights? How can discrimination against the LGBTQ community be reversed? Broadly, the class explores research related to why and where disparities persist between men and women, as well as what kind of interventions – adopted by governments, NGOs, and other agencies – mitigate these gaps, as well as make public institutions more equitable and inclusive.


20 hours of seminars in the WT.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the Winter Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay at the end of the term on an original research question related to politics, gender, and development.

Indicative reading

  • Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra, and Esther Duflo. 2004. “Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India.” Econometrica 72 (5): 1409–43.
  • Alesina, Alberto, Paola Giuliano, and Nathan Nunn. 2013. “On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough *.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 128 (2): 469–530.
  • Mendelberg, Tali, Christopher F. Karpowitz, and Nicholas Goedert. 2014. “Does Descriptive Representation Facilitate Women’s Distinctive Voice? How Gender Composition and Decision Rules Affect Deliberation.” American Journal of Political Science 58 (2): 291–306.
  • Bos, Angela L., Jill S. Greenlee, Mirya R. Holman, Zoe M. Oxley, and J. Celeste Lay. 2022. “This One’s for the Boys: How Gendered Political Socialization Limits Girls’ Political Ambition and Interest.” American Political Science Review 116 (2): 484–501.
  • Carrell, Scott E., Marianne E. Page, and James E. West. 2010. “Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 125 (3): 1101–44.


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

The summative assessment comprises one final take-home essay on an original research question. 

Students will be able to answer their original research question using any social science methodology discussed in class, qualitative research, or any other technique discussed with the convener.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2022/23: 13

Average class size 2022/23: 13

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

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

  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills