SPOL38270 Gender Inequality & Soc Pol

Academic Year 2023/2024

Throughout this module, students will develop their understanding of many dimensions of the relationship between gender and social policy. In the first section of the course, students will become familiar with the fundamental concepts necessary for gender policy analysis, including how gender operates as a social structure and its intersectional relationship to other social structures such as race, class and disability. Students will develop their understanding of the concept of patriarchy in both its familial and non-familial meanings and ideas about post-patriarchal welfare states. Students will learn about prevailing approaches to measuring gender inequalities, including indicators.

Next, we will focus on gendered typologies of welfare states and the importance of varieties of capitalism to gender inequalities in work, organisations and families. We will examine the rise of the social investment approach in the context of both high- and middle-income countries. We will also review care policies for children and adults in high-income countries, paying particular attention to work and family policies in Sweden and the United States. The module offers a comparative overview focusing on the institutional roles of employers, welfare states, state feminism and organised women’s movements in reducing gender inequalities and promoting egalitarian welfare ideologies.

In the final part of the module, we will focus on how the concept of care is becoming increasingly significant for policymakers and private sector employers. We will reflect on how global migration patterns intersect with care and welfare regimes. Finally, we will explore how social policy can evolve to account for women’s expanding responsibilities in the context of public health and environmental crises.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students will be able to:
 Identify evolving feminist perspectives on the welfare state
 Analyse the relationship between gender inequality and social policy in a comparative context-
 Apply the concepts of gender, patriarchy, commodification, decommodification, familism and reproductive work in this analysis.
 Critique the relevance of gender perspectives to mainstream comparative analysis of social policy and the welfare state.
 Assess how social policies affect women’s career trajectories and wellbeing outcomes outside the workplace.
 Understand the role of state family policies in reproducing or dismantling gender inequality in the national and transnational context.
 Identify how gender and family policies intersect with sustainable public policy.

Indicative Module Content:

We will cover the following theories and concepts;

Gender Inequality
Family Wage
Male breadwinner
Universal breadwinner model
Social investment approach
Commodification and decommodification,
Reproductive work
Sustainable futures

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In-class activities
Peer and group work
In-class discussions
Critical readings of the selected texts/reading materials 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: The final exam will take place in person during exam week (Date TBD). 1 hour End of Trimester Exam No Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: The exam will take place online via Brightspace on Wednesday, March 6th. Week 7 n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33 Mon 11:00 - 11:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 12:00 - 12:50