Gender, Work and Equality - SO544

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
(version 2)
Spring 6 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


The key focus of this course is to provide students with a good understanding of issues surrounding gender and the labour market in a comparative sociological perspective. The course is designed around the core research questions in the gender inequality literature in relation to work-life balance in the context of family, company, the labour market and the welfare states. The module starts off examining the key questions of whether there is a gender wage gap and each week discusses the potential explanation of why there is a gender gap, starting with gender role attitudes, division of housework, choices in subject area, issues around masculine organisations, moving on to more structural problems restricting women's choices. We also examine some of the key methods which gender inequality research has used recently.


Contact hours

22 contact hours including lectures, seminars and workshops
138 hours of private study
150 total hours for the module

Method of assessment

Method of assessment
Coursework – research project (1500 words) – 30%
Coursework – essay (3000 words) – 50%
Coursework- seminar participation- 20%

Indicative reading

Preliminary reading
Acker, J. (1990). Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations. Gender & Society, 4(2), 139-158.
Bianchi, S. M., Sayer, L. C., Milkie, M. A., & Robinson, J. P. (2012). Housework: Who did, does or will do it, and how much does it matter?. Social forces, 91(1), 55-63.
Esping-Andersen, G. (2009). Incomplete revolution: adapting welfare states to women's new roles. Cambridge: Polity.
Schober, P. S. (2013). The parenthood effect on gender inequality: Explaining the change in paid and domestic work when British couples become parents. European Sociological Review, 29(1), 74-85.
Williams, J. C., Blair-Loy, M., & Berdahl, J. L. (2013). Cultural schemas, social class, and the flexibility stigma. Journal of Social Issues, 69(2), 209-234.
Williams, J. (1999). Unbending gender: Why family and work conflict and what to do about it: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes:
• Be familiar with explanations of, and debates about, the nature of the relationship between 'work' and 'gender'
• Have acquired an understanding of the nature of division of labour in modern day society
• Understand the role of social norms, social and national institutions in the way work is divided between men and women
• Be able to identify and critically evaluate the key factors influencing the division of labour both in the labour market and within the household
• Be able to identify and critically evaluate the main policy developments in Britain and in Europe in the area of the work-life balance and family policies
• Be aware of, and able to evaluate, the relevant social scientific literature and empirical evidence in the field (in particular, major research studies of recent years)
• Be able to demonstrate an ability to assess the validity of explanations given for the problem of the gender inequalities prevalent in our labour market and the relevance of difference policy responses


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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