BASS Social Anthropology and Philosophy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI20742
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course covers the key debates and themes in the study of gender and politics from a comparative perspective. We will investigate questions of what it means to say that politics is gendered, and analyse how gender operates within both conventional and unconventional arenas of politics.




The unit aims to:

This unit aims to provide an introduction to the key debates and themes involved in the study of gender and politics from a comparative perspective. It will ask what is means to claim that politics is gendered given multiple and intersecting claims and identities? It will explore how far different groups of men and women behave differently as political actors.  And it asks whether ‘politics’ and political systems are gendered in particular ways that affect different groups of men and women differently.  

The unit aims to give students a better understanding of the ways in which gender operates in the conventional political arena, namely in terms of voting behaviour, political recruitment, political parties, parliaments, the executive and policy-making.  But taking a broad definition of what counts as political, the module also aims to explore how gender operates in movements that are active outside of the state and the conventional political arena.  The course will consider the differing strategies adopted to promote and enhance gender equality and assess the arguments for and against each one.



Brief overview of the syllabus/topics.

Topics include

What does it mean to say politics is gendered?

The Gender of Politics

Gender and representation

Gender in political behaviour and participation

Gender in political parties, candidate selection and recruitment

Gender in the legislature

Gender in the executive

Gender in policy and policymaking

The Politics of Gender

Feminisms and Feminist Movements

Other gender-based movements

Gender-based strategies for change

Conclusion and review


Knowledge and understanding

Students will have a Knowledge and Understanding of the range of perspectives on how politics is gendered and how gender issues maybe understood as political issues

Intellectual skills

Be able to develop analyses of gender issues in contemporary politics and public policy;

An ability to apply theoretical tools in the analysis of gender issues to contemporary politics and public policy

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Be able to present critical arguments concerning the issues discussed in the course;

Be able to engage with one another in a critical yet respectful manner;

Oral, teamwork, written, and research skills.

Assessment methods

The course will be assessed as follows:

2700-word essay (60%)

450-word seminar task (based on one topic from the first 5-6 weeks of the course) (10%)

Group presentation (20%)

450-word individual presentation write-up (10%)


Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff


Recommended reading

M.L Krook and S Childs, Women, Gender and Politics: A Reader. Oxford University Press, 2008.


P. Paxton and M Hughes, Women, Politics and Power: A Global Perspective, 3rd Ed. 2016.


G. Waylen, K. Celis, J. Kantola and L. Weldon (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics, Ch.1. 2013

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rosalind Shorrocks Unit coordinator
Ceri Fowler Unit coordinator

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